Book Reviews Category        

“Blue Gold”

There is no question that providing fresh water for a population that is growing in not only numbers but civilization is a pressing problem in the twenty-first century. What are the best means to provide this precious resource to the masses?   Read more….. »

“After the Ice”

When discussing how the Arctic is in peril, it seems the polar bear gets all the attention. The predator of the North may be in trouble, but that is not the only thing that is at stake.   Read more….. »

“Blue Zones”

If you could live a healthful, active life into your nineties or even beyond, would you want to know how? Creating a formula for a successful trajectory into the later years seems more than taking a magic pill.   Read more….. »

“The High Price of Materialism”

Money can’t buy us happiness, we are told. And yet, the culture of consumerism that we find ourselves residing in tells us otherwise. This sets up a contradiction that is bound to make most of us miserable. So says psychology professor Tim Kasser in his short book, “The High Price of Materialism”.   Read more….. »

“Gone Tomorrow”

It is easy to live with the delusion that when something is discarded it somehow magically disappears from the world. Obviously it does not, but not many people are willing to delve into the next stage of the life of detritus. So, where does the trash go when we have divorced it from our lives? Heather Rogers explores this question in her book, “Gone Tomorrow”.   Read more….. »


Many histories of the world have chronicled civilizations via religion, culture, and the physical environment in which a society creates itself. Steven Solomon has entered his contribution of grand world historical accounts with his new book, “Water”. As may be gleaned from the title, Solomon writes how human civilization has been affected by that most universal of substances, water. How civilizations have utilized it to grow their civilization, have managed it to help them survive, and what they have done when it runs scarce are just some of the ways that Solomon writes about the entwining relationship with this vital substance.   Read more….. »

“How to Break a Terrorist”

After the attacks on September 11 in New York and Washington, the United States was thrust into a direct confrontation with terrorism. What was the best way to combat terror? How terrorists were brought to justice, questioned and detained became a debate of the ethics involved in the vindication of those lost in the terrorist attack, as well as those who were killed in the military exercises afterwards in Iraq and Afghanistan.   Read more….. »

“Arctic Fox: Life at the Top of the World”

With global warming in the public eye, a lot more attention has been given to the life that will be affected by it. Most experts believe that climate change is adversely affecting the polar regions more quickly than the rest of the world.   Read more….. »

“Slave: My True Story”

Anyone who thinks that slavery went the way of the nineteenth century will be disabused of that belief when reading “Slave: My True Story.”   Read more….. »

“Travelers’ Tales: Greece”

If you want to travel to Greece, or are interested in the history of the Mediterranean country, “Travelers’ Tales: Greece” is a must read. In the style of Travelers’ Tales, which is not so much a guidebook as essays of narrative nonfiction, editors Larry Habegger, Sean O’Reilly and Brian Alexander have selected wonderful essays which give the character and history of Greece. The essays cover many of the islands, Crete, and the entire peninsula of the mainland. Some of the essays evoke the romantic notion of seaside paradise, while others give a darker tone. There are excerpts from well-known travel writers such as Paul Theroux as well as relative newcomers. Enjoy this compilation of Greek travel, whether as preparation for a trip, substantial but entertaining reading on a beach in Crete, or as armchair travel and amateur anthropology. “Travelers’ Tales: Greece” is a very enjoyable book indeed.


History has been replete with rhetoric justifying the bloodiness of wars that have littered its landscape. Just wars, self-defense, attacks supposedly done to defend the defenseless, and strategic alliances are uttered in some distant capitol while the young are sent to war. How effective has all this been? Many who are pro-military night cite some of this bloodletting as regrettable but necessary. Sometimes, a country is just pushed to the brink. It is imperative then to take up arms.   Read more….. »

“Caliban and the Yankees”

Most times when I see that a book is by an academic, I tend to expect the text to be dry and boring. This kind of work tends to be full of obscure details, footnotes, and endnotes sure to put me to sleep just as quickly as a second-year course of statistics did back in my university years. Such was my expectation when I encountered “Caliban and the Yankees”, a book by the academic Harvey R. Neptune about Trinidad. Instead, I received a pleasant surprise.   Read more….. »

“The Violet Shyness of Their Eyes”

Many people have had the experience of wanting to run to a place far, far away when a personal crisis hits. In “The Violet Shyness of Their Eyes”, Barbara J. Scot recounts how she did this when she faced the empty nest of her children leaving. On some level, she needed to redefine herself as an individual rather than switching roles with the adults she raised by living solely through them. An avid naturalist, runner, and climber, she sought this redefinition halfway a world away from her Oregon home by going to the country of Nepal. Here, she hoped to find the self that she felt that she had somehow forgotten along the way.   Read more….. »

“Tears of the Desert”

Too often the conflicts around the world become mere sound bites. They mesh together with infomercials and entertainment gossip on twenty four hour news channels, and it becomes nothing more than so much white noise. What really happens there in these places no longer seems real. Sometimes it takes a personal account for it to make it real again, a reminder of what goes on in the world outside the hectic rush of every day life.   Read more….. »