New Books: Science. Medicine.


The Young Descartes; Nobility, Rumor, and War by Harold Cook. University of Chicago Press, 2018. René Descartes is best known as the man who coined the phrase “I think, therefore I am.” But a young nobleman, Descartes was also a soldier and accomplished courtier who took part in the events of his generation but who would not seem out of place in the pages of The Three Musketeers.

Empire of Tea; The Asian Leaf that Conquered the World by Markman Ellis, et al. Realktion Books, 2018 paper. Known and consumed by the Chinese and Japanese for centuries, it was only in the seventeenth century that Londoners took up the beverage, which became identified with British imperialism. In India milk was added, thank you.

The Consciousness Instinct; Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind by Michael Gazaniga. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018. The latest research into the brain and consciousness.

The Heart Is a Shifting Sea; Love and Marriage in Mumbai by Elizabeth Flock. Harper, 2018. The stories of three Indian couples in modern-day Mumbai.

Against Dharma; Dissent in the Ancient Indian Sciences of Sex and Politics by Wendy Doniger. Yale University Pres, 2018. A look at ancient Indian texts and their discourse on both politics and sex.

The Epic City; The World on the Streets of Calcutta by Kushanava Choudhury. Bloomsbury, 2018. Food stalls and colonial mansions but also roaming cows, a world to which Choudhury returns with his family from New Jersey.

Natural Causes; An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Our Illusion of Control by Barbara Ehrenreich. Hachette, 2018. She topples the shibboleths that guide our attempts to prolong life past healthy life.

Just Medicine; A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care by Dayna Matthew. New York University Press, paper 2018. Heath disparities are mostly treatable.

The Securitization of Society; Crime, Risk, and Social Order by Marc Schuilenburg, et al. New York University Press, 2018 paper. Traditionally security was a matter of state and local governments and their uniformed police forces; now there are many new security providers, schools for example.

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