16 Booklist February 15, 2016 www.booklistreader.com
ate. Throughout, an uncomfortable question
underscores Gardner’s concerns: To what extent should citizens sacrifice individual liberties
under the guise of Homeland Security? These
issues are as relevant as ever, given the fact that
the Obama administration has invoked the Espionage Act more than any other presidency.
The Way of the Gun: A Bloody
Journey into the World of Firearms.
By Iain Overton.
Mar. 2016. 368p. Harper, $26.99 (9780062346063). 360.
We know our country’s worst tragedies by
the shorthand of place names: Sandy Hook,
Columbine, San Bernardino. As stories of
mass shootings and terror attacks grab headlines in the U.S. and around
the world, the presence of
guns in everyday life is a
sobering fact. What makes
the gun so alluring? How
does one society work to
curb gun violence, while
another does everything
in its power to make guns
more accessible? As a BBC and ITN journalist and filmmaker, Overton visited more than
two dozen countries where guns and their inherent violence were an integral part of the
culture to examine the diverse and divergent
ways in which guns gained their foothold.
From South Africa to Central America, Norway to the U.S., gun violence is a grim reality.
But not all firearms are used for criminal or
terrorist purposes, and Overton takes great
pains to profile legitimate military, police, and
sports users. He also delves behind the scenes
to expose the roles lobbyists, manufacturers,
and dealers play in making humanity enamored of and dependent upon the gun. With
ongoing and escalating discourse on Second
Amendment rights and groundbreaking gun
control legislation capturing national attention, Overton’s comprehensive study of an
increasingly weaponized world provides timely and vital reading. —Carol Haggas
The Art of Risk: The New Science of
Courage, Caution & Chance.
By Kayt Sukel.
Mar. 2016. 288p. National Geographic, $26
(9781426214721); e-book, $26 (9781426214738).
“Risk is bad. It can lead to danger and
death. Risk is good. It can lead to glory and
happiness.” According to the author, a lot depends on where you are in your life. Sukel,
who claims to have been an extreme risk taker
when young, frets that she’s starting to hedge
bets and play it safe. Wondering what happened to her adventurous outlook, she turns
to scientists, psychologists, and diverse risk
takers for help in determining what risks are
worth taking and how to revitalize her life.
Sukel begins with the anatomy of the brain
Small Data: The Tiny Clues That
and the role of genetics, and then shakes up
some stereotypes on gender and age. She finds
that the willingness to take risks can also be
tempered by preparation, social connections,
emotion, stress, and how easily you recover
from mistakes. Finally Sukel talks about ways
to become a better decision maker and risk
taker. Interesting for both the science and the
personal stories, this thoughtful book will
prompt a range of readers to reexamine their
lives and motives. —Candace Smith
Uncover Huge Trends.
By Martin Lindstrom.
Feb. 2016. 256p. St. Martin’s, $25.99 (9781250080684);
e-book, $12.99 (9781466892590). 658.8.
The brand-building author of Buyology
(2008) is back with a book that will make a
big splash, and you’ll want copies of it on your
shelf when that happens.
This time, Lindstrom shares
how tiny details, which
would have been missed if it
weren’t for in-person interviews and in-home research
(in many homes across the
globe), have made big impacts on businesses around
the world. He’s not writing for marketing
executives. Rather, he hopes that the book
will inspire the general reader to become
“even more aware than you are already of the
clues around you, and to become conscious
of the similarities that exist among humans.”
Lindstrom weaves stories that combine our
most obscure habits and popular corporate
names, international intrigue, and even a bit
of suspense. After reading the details he has
uncovered, readers may take a closer look at
themselves, their homes, and their neighbors.
They may also pay attention to how they behave with family members, grocers, even a
child’s LEGO set. Readers who enjoy Malcolm Gladwell, Michael Pollan, and Barbara
Ehrenreich are sure to appreciate this volume.
Sorting the Beef from the Bull: The
Science of Food Fraud Forensics.
By Richard Evershed and Nicola Temple.
Apr. 2016. 320p. Bloomsbury/Sigma, $27
(9781472911339); e-book, $18.99 (9781472911346).
Biogeochemistry professor Evershed and
conservationist Temple take up the daunt-
ing subject of food fraud, an increasingly
problematic issue compounded by the global
nature of our food supply chains. From veg-
etable oil to beef, honey, spices, and fish (the
most rampantly fraudulent single item), Ever-
shed and Temple reveal the many ways food
fraud occurs: sometimes from innocent mo-
tives, like repurposing old food to avoid waste;
sometimes from more sinister objectives, like
deliberately creating a synthetic product,
as in the baby-formula scandal in China in
2004. Research is nicely contextualized with
historical instances of fraud, as Evershed and
Temple evaluate how government and non-
profit organizations are working to detect the
problem and deter it. Science plays a big role
in this field; the authors detail the incredible
way DNA testing can be used to verify food
authenticity and the molecular breakdown
of foods and their substitutes—this, as well
as frequent statistics, gives their narrative a
fact- and number-heavy feel, despite fairly
streamlined explanations. Still, those interested
in muckraking journalism, food science, and
environmental conservation won’t be dissuad-
ed from reading this account. —Sarah Grant
Better Birding: Tips, Tools, & Concepts
for the Field.
Ed. by George L. Armistad and Brian L.
2015. 360p. illus. Princeton, paper, $60
By using nine general groups of North
American birds to offer advice on sorting
among the species possibilities, the editors’
plan is to guide people to be better birders, no
matter which other birds they observe—even
those groups and species not included here.
The very readable text is dense and replete
with species information and advice on what
one can see by taking a wider perspective while
birding. Much of the text is about behavior,
habitat, and “GISS”—a general impression
of shape and size. The entries include sidebars
of natural history or taxonomic notes, often
about relationships among species or specific
characteristics of this group. Vagrant species are
sometimes included because their characteristics are often confusing to many bird-watchers.
The hundreds of photographs are interspersed with lovely portraits at the beginning
of each group or subgroup. Some groups
are augmented with double-page composite
images of several similar species in flight in
appropriate perspective. The differences one
can see at a distance are noted in the long
captions. For example, the first subgroup of
“Coastal Birds” are the eiders. The elegant
photo of a male “Pacific Common Eider”
precedes general information about this
subgroup, photos and discussion of plumage variation, hints and considerations when
observing this subgroup, identification characteristics of the four eider species, and the
double-page composite spread of the four species flying close by and at a distance against a
seascape. Each subgroup concludes with a list
of references. Though not a field guide, this is
a well-produced reference for the novice and
expert birder alike and a desirable addition to
most libraries. —Linda Scarth
By Hope Jahren.
Apr. 2016. 336p. Knopf, $26.95 (9781101874943);
e-book (9781101874943). 570.92.
While growing up in a cold place with an undemonstrative mother, Jahren found warmth