August2017 Booklist 9 www.booklistonline.com
informative, well-illustrated reference. Resource listings appended. —Alan Moores
Simply Electrifying: The Technology
That Transformed the World, from
Benjamin Franklin to Elon Musk.
By Craig R. Roach.
Aug. 2017. 400p. BenBella, $26.95 (9781944648268).
On a windy day in June of 1752, Benjamin
Franklin brought electricity to the world.
Franklin’s singular achievement changed the
direction of modern life. Without this technological marvel, life as we know it would not
exist. It’s difficult to imagine
this other version of life, to
completely understand the
true impact of the discovery of electricity. This book
brings to life the fascinating
story behind the people who
transformed our world with
their discoveries. Roach examines electricity’s impact from four main
angles. First, he looks at Franklin’s discoveries and the technologies brought forward as
a result of electricity, including the development of the telegraph. Roach also discusses
electricity’s economic impact, including the
ability to distribute and pay for the service
by increasing numbers of customers. There is
also a look at the impact of electricity on our
system of government, including the continuing battle between state and federal regulators.
Well-written and extremely accessible, Simply
Electrifying provides a comprehensive history
of this life-changing discovery and is a fascinating and deeply engaging look at how we
live today and where we may be headed in the
future. —Carol Gladstein
Afterglow: A Dog Memoir.
By Eileen Myles.
Sept. 2017. 224p. Grove, $24 (9780802127099). 636.7.
For more than 16 years, Myles was companioned by a pit bull named Rosie until Rosie did
what dogs do and left the author to navigate
a post-Rosie world, solo. In the after of Rosie,
poet Myles, the author of more than 20 books,
including the novels Chelsea Girls (1994) and
Cool for You (2000), writes this unconventional, uncontainable, phantasmagoric memoir of
dog and owner. To let Rosie
herself tell it, “Afterglow is totally a book with legs (four if
I can be dumb) so it will go
a lot further than your earlier
Eileen-based fictions.” Here
are small moments and large
ones, like actual transcriptions of memories; here’s
Rosie as author, Rosie interviewed on a puppet
talk show, Rosie as god, Rosie as Myles’ father.
Myles catalogs Rosie-related objects and chron-
Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a
icles the seeking of an ancestral home in Ireland
and reading science fiction in San Diego dur-
ing Rosie’s last summer. Poetic, heartrending,
soothing, and funny, this is a mind-expanding
contemplation of creation—the act and the
noun—and the creatures whose deaths we pre-
sume will precede ours but whose lives make
our own better beyond reason. To this, read-
ers should bring tissues, pencil and paper, even
their dogs. —Annie Bostrom
Deadly Epidemic of Flame.
By Michael Kodas.
Aug. 2017. 352p. illus. HMH, $28 (9780547792088).
Journalist Kodas addresses the increasing
destructiveness of forest fires, a topic gaining
in significance as the climate warms. Initially
he takes a traditional approach, immersing
readers in stories of tragic fires in Colorado
and Arizona as he recounts efforts to save
lives and property that all too often are unsuccessful. However, as he reaches deeper
into our national history of firefighting
and the whole notion that forest fires must
be fought at all costs, he reveals a cultural
mindset that defies science, a deification of
the firefighting profession that makes effective investigations nearly impossible, and an
attitude about real-estate development in
wooded areas that is foolhardy if not willfully ignorant. Grounding his investigation
in personal stories, Kodas turns this exploration of the “fire-industrial complex” into a
surprising page-turner. Always respectful of
the lives lost fighting fire, the author never
loses sight of the bigger picture: the fires
aren’t going away, and current approaches to
addressing that fact are based on antiquated
ideas. This is a must-read for all as forest fires
spread across the country. —Colleen Mondor
This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of
an American Family Farm.
By Ted Genoways.
Sept. 2017. 288p. illus. Norton, $26.95
The American family farm is in trouble.
Squeezed between large-scale corporate
operations, demanding customers, and environmental issues, farmers face a daunting
array of obstacles to keeping their businesses
alive. Genoways, a journalist whose lifelong
familiarity with farm life grounds his writing, follows one such family through a year
of raising corn, soybeans, and cattle on their
Nebraska farm. He reveals the complexity that marks agriculture today, from the
astonishing array of technology providing
up-to-the-minute data to the fluctuating
market forces that create a razor-edge difference between success and failure. Along
the way, he provides a compelling overview of the historical evolution of farming
in America, including how Henry Ford is
responsible for the current prominence of
the soybean. The heart of this story is the
Hammonds, a family preparing to transfer
the operation of the farm to the sixth generation. Genoways tells their story—and,
through it, the story of farmers all over the
country—with compassion and insight. This
Blessed Earth is a cogent, well-reported examination of the forces putting the family
farm at risk. —Bridget Thoreson
Health & Medicine
Beyond ADHD: Overcoming the Label and
By Jeff Emmerson and Robert Yehling.
Aug. 2017. 260p. Rowman & Littlefield, $36
(9781442275102); e-book (9781442275119). 618.92.
Misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder after a suicide attempt,
Emmerson devotes his book and his life to
asking good questions about how to prevent
and best treat the condition. With veteran coauthor Yehling, he explains why he thinks the
ADHD label should be retired and how he
thinks people with it should be treated. He
believes prescriptions should be used only as
a last resort (his own experiences with them
were not good). He identifies a major problem: doctors base their subjective diagnosis
on observed behaviors, which is one reason
13 percent of kids are now diagnosed with it.
“We need to nail down and laser in on what
ADHD is and what it isn’t,” he says. It’s hard
to argue with recommendations like drinking
plenty of water and avoiding high-fructose
corn syrup, though Emmerson isn’t an M.D.
Overall his enthusiasm for his topic and his
general good advice, including promoting self-esteem and trying to create a “gentler world,”
will resonate with everyone concerned about
ADHD, including his hundreds of thousands
of Twitter followers. —Karen Springen
Cannabis for Chronic Pain: A Proven
Prescription for Using Marijuana to
Relieve Your Pain and Heal Your Life.
By Rav Ivker.
Sept. 2017. Touchstone, $26.99 (9781501155888);
e-book (9781501155918). 615.7.
When he got shingles and suffered pain so
awful that he felt as if he were being “
electrocuted,” Ivker, a doctor of osteopathy and
past president of the American Holistic Medical Association, self-medicated with medical
marijuana and became an even bigger believer
in the power of pot. He talks about how to
treat pain from such conditions as arthritis,
migraines, menstrual cramps, and cancer with
cannabis in many forms, including transder-mal patches. He divides his guide into three
parts—“Cannabis as Medicine,” “Self-care
101,” and “Fully Alive”—and concludes
with a chapter titled “Everything in Moderation.” If marijuana is no longer needed to
treat discomfort or disease, he says, it’s best
to gradually reduce intake. Otherwise, “like
drinking coffee or alcohol,” it can lead to
“psychological dependence and tolerance.”
He wants people to discipline themselves and
use pot “as a sacred medicine.” An informative
approach to an increasingly mainstream topic, and even skeptics may find Ivker’s positive