The SAGE Encyclopedia of Stem Cell
Research. 2d ed.
Ed. by Eric E. Bouhassira.
3v. 2015. 552p. illus. Sage, $525 (9781483347684). 616.
The second edition of this encyclopedia
updates the 2009 set and still features authoritative signed articles aimed at general readers
and undergraduate students. Key themes addressed include stem-cell biology, clinical
trials, research and policies from all over the
world, biographies of stem-cell researchers,
ethics, religion, and politics. New information includes the executive orders from the
Obama administration reversing research laws
imposed under the Bush administration, Vatican edicts, and cloning.
Volume 1 contains the set’s “Reader’s Guide,”
offering themed groups including “Cancer
Stem Cells,” “Clinical Trials in the United
States,” “Institutions,” and “Stem Cell Applications.” This volume also contains a
chronology from 1890 to early 2015. Sample
entries include Autism, Cord blood banking,
Fate therapeutics, Max Planck Society, Tissue
printing, and Wound repair. A few black-and-white diagrams supplement the text, and
cross-references link related articles. Bibliographies listing books, journal articles, and
websites are included for most articles, and
there is a “Resource Guide” at the end of volume 3. Volume 3 also contains a glossary of
stem-cell research terms, primary documents,
and the index. This encyclopedia is recommended for academic and large public libraries,
and libraries owning the first edition will want
to replace it with this update. —Rebecca Vnuk
Salem Health: Psychology and
Behavioral Health. 4th ed.
Ed. by Paul Moglia.
5v. 2015. 2,488p. Salem, $445 (9781619255432). 150.
This new set is an update to the 2010 edition
of Psychology & Mental Health, in the Salem
Health series. This particular work embraces the
study of the psyche while recognizing the distinction between nature as species and nature as
individual. The editor notes the significant role
of biology within psychology, and that is reflected in the entries’ topics as well as their content.
This work is geared toward the U.S. perspective,
but in certain entries, there is notice given to the
differing context that exists based on cultural,
societal, and gender influences.
The five volumes are organized A–Z with
690 entries, which include more than 100 new
entries as well as updates to the previous content. Each entry identifies type of psychology,
key concepts, an introduction to the topic, and
a bibliography; additional subheadings vary by
entry. The two separate indexes (category and
subject), along with accurate cross-referencing,
contribute greatly to the ease of navigation of
the multiple volumes. In addition to a glossary,
four appendixes serve to point users to further
resources. This set is easy to navigate and provides information suitable for undergraduate
students across disciplines but is still accessible
for general readers hoping to find out more
about psychology. —Janet Pinkley
Skeptic: Viewing the World with a
By Michael Shermer.
Jan. 2016. 304p. illus. Holt, $28 (9781627791380);
e-book (9781627791397). 501.
Shermer is an all-media publicity platform
of books, documentaries, TV appearances,
lectures, and a column in Scientific American.
The last has run since 2001, and this volume
hosts Shermer’s first 75 efforts. As with any
columnist, spotting the inspiration points toward the main idea. In Shermer’s case, personal
memories, movies, and news accounts related
to science, science books, and fads prompt his
expositions. Their common theme, declares
Shermer, is the interplay in science between
data and theory. Shermer’s essays particularly
arraign the temptation, common to scientists
and laypeople alike, to seize on a single observation as proof for a proposition, as in, “I
saw a UFO; therefore, aliens exist.” More than
debunking such illogic, entertaining as that is,
Shermer extols skepticism as a tool for perceiving what is real. Are some people luckier
than others? Does religious belief improve
personal health or society at large? Several
pieces tackle those questions, while others
play off contemporary events, such as 9/11.
Since those old SA issues have been recycled,
revive the popular Shermer’s writings with
this collection. —Gilbert Taylor
A Thousand Naked Strangers: A
Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and
By Kevin Hazzard.
Jan. 2016. 288p. Scribner, $25 (9781501110832); e-book
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to
cruise the streets of a dark and dangerous
city, primed to respond to the calls of those
in need? No, this isn’t the premise of a new
superhero comic but, rather, an average day in
the life of an emergency medical technician or
paramedic. Hazzard presents a thrilling, captivating, and sometimes grisly glimpse into
what it takes to be a first responder in the city
of Atlanta, Georgia. His prose is quick, witty,
and fresh as he describes his 10-year journey
from student to paramedic and the varying
effects the long hours and high-adrenaline
environment have on ambulance workers.
Hazzard tells the stories of patients he has
saved, patients he has lost, and patients he
simply can’t forget, seamlessly weaving these
vignettes into his overarching personal story.
This frank and morbidly funny memoir sheds
light onto a sometimes forgotten area of medicine. From delivering babies to responding to
cardiac-arrest calls, paramedics have seen the
extremes and everything in between. Hazzard
takes readers on a wild and unforgettable ride.
Why We Snap: Understanding the Rage
Circuit in Your Brain.
By R. Douglas Fields.
Jan. 2016. 416p. Dutton, $28 (9780525954835). 616.89.
Neurobiologist Fields offers a sensible,
plainspoken guide to the all-too-common
phenomenon of rage. Everyone loses their
temper at some point, resulting in such ac-
tions as smashing a dish in a fit of anger. But
what if a momentary loss of control leads to
something worse, an act of irreparable vio-
lence? What triggers the human impulse to
violence and killing? Does everyone have
this latent ability for extreme rage? These are
the questions Fields seeks to answer in this
thoughtful and anecdotal examination of the
complicated human mind and its penchant
for violence. He discusses his own experi-
ences, such as when he and his daughter were
confronted by thieves, prompting the normal-
ly mild-mannered scientist to react “without
conscious thought” in an effort to defend his
life, child, and property. Moreover, he explores
the biological roots of rage and discusses how
much of our rage is genetically predetermined
and how much is learned. Fields’ timely ex-
ploration of sudden acts of violence is sure
to inspire conversation at a time when mass
shootings appear with great and lamentable
frequency. —June Sawyers
Wildlife of the World.
Ed. by Don E. Wilson.
2015. 480p. illus. DK, $50 (9781465438041). 590.
Starting with a general overview of 4 animal habitats—forests, grasslands, extreme
environments, and aquatic environments—
this work then provides
examples from a selection of habitats for each
of the continents. The
animals, from aardvarks
to African gorillas, are
emblematic of each
habitat. Many example animals could be
called charismatic megafauna, though there
are also beautiful insects, amphibians, fish,
reptiles, large and small birds, and mammals throughout. Beautifully illustrated with
handsome photographs, charts, tables, maps,
and graphics, the book tells the story of each
selected animal for the 7 continents and 42
terrestrial and aquatic habitats. More species
are briefly described in “The Animal Kingdom” section, near the end of the volume,
which provides examples from the 22 orders
of mammals, 29 bird orders, 4 reptile orders,
and 3 amphibian orders. Fish are not recognized as a group of vertebrates and have 3
main classes. Invertebrates are also classified
in 30 phyla rather than a single one. A chart
at the beginning of each section indicates
the number of species in each order, class, or
phylum. The table of contents has a small editing error in pagination for the end material,
but this is an important, gorgeous, accessible
introduction to hundreds of species and their
habitats throughout the world at a very small
price, and it belongs in all public and school
libraries. —Linda Scarth
YA/C: This attractive volume is well
suited for school-library collections serving
all grades. RV.