Sunday, July 26, 2009

Links & Reviews

First, some bad news: yesterday in my circuit of Boston/Cambridge bookstores I found out the hard way that the Harvard University Press display room/shop had closed since my last visit. A real shame, that.

[After I put it together, I found that this week's selection of links is weirdly skewed toward the Boston Globe, but I will say they've had a pretty good run of book coverage lately, so I've let it slide].

- In the Boston Globe, Hobson Woodward talks to Anna Mundow about his research for A Brave Vessel.

- Also from the Globe, a writeup of the Google Books discussion I discussed here. The reporter interviewed Google's Dan Clancy and others the day after the talk, and includes some comments about what they're calling the "uber book platform," to make their digital copies available (see their recent deals with Sony and Barnes & Noble, for example).

- I'm awfully glad J.L. Bell picked this up: he takes on an absolutely ridiculous op/ed [read: puff piece] that was printed in the Globe last week, by a proponent of so-called "intelligent design." The piece claimed the support of Thomas Jefferson for the pseudo-scientific claptrap these folks peddle (why the Globe stooped to printing it is quite beyond me), which Bell rebuts elegantly.

I particularly like this paragraph, where Bell notes that TJ didn't have the works of Darwin and Wallace to inform his thinking: "Thus, Jefferson never had a chance to consider the most fundamental ideas of modern biology or the best evidence for it. For Meyer to cast Jefferson as a creationist like himself is therefore akin to claiming that the third President would support only organic farming—after all, that’s the only type of agriculture he had his enslaved laborers practice. Or that Jefferson would oppose nuclear power, genetic engineering, and the mumps vaccine—he undoubtedly never wrote a word in favor of any of those things!"

- Ian noted the arrival of a new reference work, Stephen Matyas' Declaration of Independence: A Checklist of Books, Pamphlets, and Periodicals, Printing the U.S. Declaration of Independence, 1776-1825. With an appendix checklist of American newspapers printing the Declaration of Independence. You can download the book for free at the author's website.


- Richard Eder reviews Richard Holmes' Age of Wonder in the Boston Globe.

- Laurie Scheck's A Monster's Notes is reviewed by Ed Siegel, also in the Globe.

- In the LATimes, Nick Basbanes reviews Paul Collins' The Book of William.

- Michael Dirda reviews Keith Thomas' The Ends of Life in the WaPo.

- James MacGregor Burns' Packing the Court is reviewed by Adams Liptak in the NYTimes.

- Also in the Times, Janet Maslin reviews Douglas Brinkley's The Wilderness Warrior.

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