Off the Shelf
The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind, by Melvin Konner, Ph.D. ’73, M.D. ’84 (Belknap Harvard, $39.95). In a truly monumental work (753 pages plus references, etc.), the Emory University anthropologist/ neuroscientist/ behavioral biologist proceeds from the wonders of the young--“Nothing in nature is more marvelous than children’s emotions and behavior”--to the biology and evolution of humans’ behavior and mind.
Drawing the Map of Life: Inside the Human Genome Project, by Victor K. McElheny (Basic Books, $28). A journalistic history of the scientists who teased out the full genetic code, including appearances by such Harvard researchers as Mark Ptashne, Walter Gilbert (Loeb University Professor emeritus), and Eric Lander (now of the Broad Institute).
Adventures among Ants, by Mark W. Moffett, Ph.D. ’87 (University of California, $29.95). The explorer, a Smithsonian Institution research associate, embarks on “a global safari with a cast of trillions,” whom he photographs spectacularly and also anthropomorphizes, in a way, as warriors, road-builders, and farmers.
Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd, by Youngme Moon (Crown, $26). The David professor of business administration, a specialist in marketing--“the soundtrack of our generation”--explores ways to overcome “the world of sameness.”
Art Matters, by Robert Paul Lamb, Ph.D. ’88 (Louisiana State University, $45). A searching examination of a writer (Hemingway) and form (his short stories) that have been perhaps under-studied, by a professor of English at Purdue.
Saving Schools: From Horace Mann to Virtual Learning, by Paul E. Peterson (Belknap Harvard, $25.95). The Shattuck professor of government, who directs the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard, looks at various flavors of reform and why “elementary and secondary schools in the United States no longer appear exceptional.”
The Power of Social Innovation, by Stephen Goldsmith, Paul professor of government (Jossey-Bass, $35). The Harvard Kennedy School professor, formerly mayor of Indianapolis, explores civic entrepreneurship and innovative solutions to community problems. He can practice what he preaches as New York City’s new deputy mayor for operations.
Arctic Circle, by Robert Leonard Reid ’65 (Godine, $27.95). Casting off from his Nevada home, the author heads far north to follow, as the subtitle says, “birth and rebirth in the land of the caribou,” along their 2,700-mile migration. With chilly photos if the beach is too hot.
The Logic of Discipline, by Alasdair Roberts, M.P.P. ’86, Ph.D. ’94 (Oxford, $35). During the past three decades, government has been restructured to serve the market, argues the Rappaport professor of law and public policy at Suffolk University Law School. Now, the underlying “logic of discipline” has been proven to be both undemocratic and incapable of sophisticated governance. The market paradigm is, in short, kaput.
A Liberal Education, by Abbott Gleason ’60, Ph.D. ’69 (TidePool Press, $26.95). The author, an historian (emeritus) of the Soviet Union, from Brown, lovingly and amusingly recalls his Harvard College education in the late 1950s, from influential roommates such as John Harbison (the composer) to Eliot House master John Finley (frostily putting down President Nathan Pusey) to Renato Poggioli (strategically employing “an Anglo-Saxon word [that] does not come easily to my Latin lips”).
Wild Urban Plants of the Northeast, by Peter Del Tredici, senior research scientist, Arnold Arboretum (Cornell, $29.95 paper). A field guide, profusely illustrated. You’ll need a backpack, not a pocket, for stowage.
A Gringa in Bogotá, by June Carolyn Erlick (University of Texas, $40; $19.95, paper). The author, an editor at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, lived in Colombia from 1975 to 1985 and again from 2005 to 2006. Amid the drugs and violence, she finds and documents life going on.
The Eight, by Susan Saint Sing (St. Martin’s, $26.99). An account of rowing, based on reporting about the 2008 varsity men’s heavyweight crew.