Best Science & Technology Books 2019

Disappearing ice, air pollution, the wonders of algae. The best science and technology titles published in 2019.

See all of our 2019 Best Books lists.

 
Andrews, Bryce. Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear. Houghton Harcourt. ISBN 9781328972453.
A gracefully written narrative by a cattle rancher turned grizzly bear advocate. Andrews pens a thoughtful meditation on the fraught coexistence of humankind and nature that acknowledges the needs of both and the lack of easy solutions.
 
Arax, Mark. The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California. Knopf. ISBN 9781101875209.
A history of California through the lens of water use, where the combination of urbanism and agriculture allows the state to function as a microcosm of America. Arax masterfully combines history, memoir, and journalism in this sprawling yet profound story.
 
Demuth, Bathsheba. Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait. Norton. ISBN 9780393635164.
A fascinating book that blends environmental and political history to consider the future of the modern Bering Strait. Demuth relates how Indigenous lifestyles are irrevocably altered by control of natural resources.
 
Gardiner, Beth. Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution. Univ. of Chicago. ISBN 9780226495859.
By alternating between on-the-ground, personal stories of air pollution around the globe and showing where positive change is taking place, Gardiner offers hope, not despair, for combating the deleterious health effects of the airborne pollutants our energy production has generated.
 
Gertner tracks the history of human interaction with Greenland, first as a place to be conquered, explored, and exploited, and finally as one of the world’s most extensive climate laboratories.
 
Kassinger, Ruth. Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us. Houghton Harcourt. ISBN 9780544432932.
An all-encompassing perspective on algae, this account by Kassinger reflects her enthusiasm for the vast potential of these organisms that sit quietly at the bottom of the food chain.
 
MacFarlane, Robert. Underland: A Deep Time Journey. Norton. ISBN 9780393242140.
A riveting natural history of subterranean areas that explores the connections between humans and landscape.
 
Owen, David. Volume Control: Hearing in a Deafening World. Riverhead. ISBN 9780525534228.
A deep dive into the causes, biology, and possible treatments for the complicated subject of hearing loss. Owen’s personable style makes the topic accessible and helps remove the social stigma of hearing loss and assistive devices.
 
Saini, Angela. Superior: The Return of Race Science. Beacon. ISBN 9780807076910.
Saini examines past and present permutations of scientific racism, tracing the evolution of racial categories and their ongoing impacts on society. A well-argued, sobering study.
 
A primatologist describes the commonality of true, not just perceived, emotion among primates and other animals, dispelling the notion that non-human animals have only instinctual responses.

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