Science, Medicine, & Technology: Nonfiction Previews, Apr. 2019, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

Visit grizzlies with rancher/conservationist Bryce Andrews, go beyond quantum physics with Lee Smolin, and more.

Andrews, Bryce. Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear. Houghton Harcourt. Apr. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9781328972453. $25; ebk. ISBN 9781328972477. NATURAL SCIENCES
Both a rancher and a conservationist in Montana, Andrews assays the clash between humans and the large predators of the American West by chronicling the fate of a grizzly named Millie and her three cubs. As he’s both a rancher and a conservationist, he’s got a unique and valuable perspective. Following Badluck Way, the 2014 winner of the Barnes & Nobel Discover Great New Writers Award.

Honigsbaum, Mark. The Pandemic Century: One Hundred Years of Panic, Hysteria, and Hubris. Norton. Apr. 2019. 448p. ISBN 9780393254754. $29.95. MEDICAL/EPIDEMIOLOGY
The centennial of the terrible Spanish flu epidemic brought several commentaries (e.g., Catharine Arnold’s Pandemic 1918), but medical historian Honingbaum aims for something a little different. Here he shows that the last century swarmed with serious and unanticipated pandemics, from the 1924 outbreak of pneumonic plague in Los Angeles and the 1930 “parrot fever” pandemic to SARS, Ebola, and Zika. Now what?

Kushner, David. The Players Ball: A Genius, a Con Man, and the Secret History of the Internet's Rise. S. & S. Apr. 2019. 272p. ISBN 9781501122149. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781501122163. BUSINESS/TECHNOLOGY
In 1994, entrepreneur Gary Kremen used a $2,500 loan to create the first online dating service,, then, intuiting correctly that key domain names would have great value in the future, he bought dozens, including But in 1995, as he prepared to launch his new Sex site, he found that someone had stolen the rights to the name. A portrait of cyber fisticuffs and the Internet’s wild early years from acclaimed journalist/author Kushner (Alligator Candy); with a 60,000-copy first printing.

Smolin, Lee. Einstein's Unfinished Revolution: The Search for What Lies Beyond the Quantum. Penguin Pr. Apr. 2019. 352p. ISBN 9781594206191. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780698169135. Downloadable. PHYSICS
For a century, quantum physics has been seen as the golden key to explaining the universe, but if you’re getting the sense that it poses problems that are unsolvable or at least unsolved, you are not alone. Scientists argue relentlessly about quantum physics, and theoretical physicist Smolin, a founding faculty member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, says we must go beyond quantum mechanics to get any understanding of the world on an atomic scale that makes sense. Go for it, science lovers!

Wulf, Andrea (text) & Lillian Melcher (illus.) The Adventures of Alexander Von Humboldt. Pantheon. Apr. 2019. 272p. ISBN 9781524747374. $29.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524747381. NATURAL SCIENCES/GN
Among the New York Times Top 10 Books of the Year and a national best seller to boot, Wulf’s The Invention of Nature told the story of important if largely forgotten German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. Here, in graphic format, she joins with illustrator Melcher to chronicle Von Humboldt’s five-year expedition in South America. How can you not love a book promoted to environmentalists and ComicCon attendees?

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Book Review; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president of the National Book Critics Circle, to which she has just been reelected.

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