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Trying Biology: The Scopes Trial, Textbooks, and the Antievolution Movement in American Schools

by Adam R. Shapiro

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 193 pages.

“Any student of the evolution controversy in America will profit greatly from [Shapiro’s] discussion of the central role played by those involved with the publication and marketing of biology textbooks during the early twentieth century,” writes reviewer George E Webb.

Intelligently Designed: How Creationists Built the Campaign against Evolution

by Edward Caudill

Champaign (IL): University of Illinois Press, 2013. 216 pages.

Reviewer Adam R Shapiro explains, “The book’s introduction promises ‘a history of how creationism won so many converts.’ What follows is a detailed synthesis of organized creationism that says little about the converts themselves.

The Explanation for Everything: A Novel

by Lauren Grodstein

Chapel Hill (NC): Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2013. 338 pages.

What is the underlying message of Lauren Grodstein’s “compelling and engrossing work of fiction,” wonders reviewer Laurel Saiz: “Anti-creationist screed? A fundamentalist Christian Trojan horse disguised as a book exploring concepts about evolution? My guess [is that it is:] … Having a belief in a higher order is nice and might be comforting.

Enquête sur les Créationnismes: Réseaux, Stratégies et Objectifs Politiques

by Cyrille Baudouin and Olivier Brosseau

Paris: Belin, 2013. 336 pages.

“Cyrille Baudouin and Olivier Brosseau dissect the creationist problem in France and some nearby countries,” explains reviewer Kevin Padian. “They find some similarities to the American problem, including the direct importation of some American creationist views to Europe. And they also find differences that reflect indigenously European cultural, political, and social influences.

Rhetorical Darwinism: Religion, Evolution, and the Scientific Identity

by Thomas M. Lessl

Waco (TX): Baylor University Press, 2012. 322 pages.

Lessl’s book is both “a careful historical study of the relationship between science and religion from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, and … a biting critique of the vaulting ambition of contemporary supporters of evolutionary science who fail to respect the division between technical and public spheres as they grasp at a moral and political authority they do not legitimately hold,” writes reviewer Leah Ceccarelli, who found the former part of the project more impressive than the latter.

Evolution and Religion in American Education

by David E. Long
New York: Springer, 2011. 203 pages.

Reviewer Steve Watkins explains, “Much of Long’s research delves, in effect, into a question recently posed by Karl Giberson: ‘Why do tens of millions of Americans prefer to get their science from Ken Ham, founder of the creationist Answers in Genesis, who has no scientific expertise, rather than from his fellow evangelical Francis Collins, current Director of the National Institutes of Health?’ Long’s book provides some important and troubling answers to such questions.” Watkins warns, “A challenge fo

American Genesis

by Jeffrey P. Moran
New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. 191 pages.

“Jeffrey Moran’s new book offers a compelling explanation of the durability of America’s anti-evolution impulse,” writes reviewer Adam Laats. “Moran demonstrates the ways that anti-evolutionism has been both a bellwether and an influence on broader trends in American culture.” Especially noteworthy is Moran’s focus on gender, region, and race. Laats concludes, “American Genesis makes an important addition to the historical literature on the antievolution impulse.

Among the Creationists

by Jason Rosenhouse
New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. 272 pages.

Reviewer Taner Edis describes Among the Creationists as “one of the most readable, interesting, and different books about creationism that has appeared in many years,” praising its “blend of personal observation and probing investigation of scientific and philosophical questions.” He sympathizes with but is wary of the book’s challenge to the view that science and religion are compatible.

Marketing Intelligent Design

by Frank S. Ravitch
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. 360 pages.

Reviewer Tim Beazley describes Marketing Intelligent Design as arguing that “the ‘intelligent design’ movement (IDM) is not really a serious attempt to advance a scientific alternative to evolutionary science, but rather a slick marketing plan designed to evade the judicial interpretations of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause that prohibit religious proselytizing in public elementary, middle, and high school science classes.” He concludes, “Overall the book is excellent,” and ver

Evolution, Creationism, and the Battle to Control America’s Classrooms

by Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 304 pages.

“Natural scientists … often react with disbelief and dismay when they read polls about how many Americans do not believe in human evolution and resist its teaching in public schools. They’re not sure what (if anything) can be done about it in our exceptionally religious-minded society,” writes reviewer George F. Bishop. “But it may take highly capable political scientists, such as Berkman and Plutzer, to pave the way to effective reform by telling us what goes on behind those classroom doors, and why.


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