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Microbes and Evolution

edited by Roberto Kolter and Stanley Maloy

Washington DC: ASM Press, 2012. 299 pages.

“The book is divided up into thirty-nine short essays, written by leaders in the field,” explains reviewer Tara C Smith. However, this is not a textbook by any means; the essays are largely personal notes, reflecting on the writers’ careers, how they ended up where they are, and the roles they and colleagues have played in advancing evolutionary theory via their study of microbes.” Although the writing is uneven, Smith recommends the anthology both for biologists and for lay readers.

Relentless Evolution

by John N Thompson

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 512 pages.

Relentless Evolution “painstakingly details the case that evolutionary change happens rapidly, and that evolution profoundly affects interactions between species,” writes reviewer Christopher Irwin Smith. The book offers numerous “examples where rapid evolutionary change has been observed, and presents a compelling case that these changes are important in a broad array of fields ....

The Spirit of the Hive: The Mechanisms of Social Evolution

by Robert E Page Jr

Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press, 2013. 226 pages.

In The Spirit of the Hive, explains reviewer James H Hunt, Page describes his work on how “variation among honey bee colonies can reflect variation in the underlying mechanisms of behavior and development in non-reproducing individuals in ways that could underlie adaptation at the colony level,” thus providing “an excellent example of how simple yet elegant experiments can be used to generate deep insights into the processes of evolution.” He warns, though, that “it will be more easily accessible to scientis

Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom

by Daphne J Fairbairn

Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press, 2013. 312 pages.

In Odd Couples, writes reviewer Robert M Cox, “[t]he writing is accessible and the scientific jargon is usually kept to a minimum. Nonetheless, the style is very much in the tradition of scientific writing, and academics will find the comforting familiarity of tables, figures, and citations from the primary literature.

Exploring Evolution

by Michael Alan Park

London: Vivays, 2012. 160 pages.

“The combination of compelling illustrations and lucid text makes it the perfect antidote to (and certainly not to be confused with) the cryptocreationist publication Explore Evolution,” writes reviewer Rebecca A. Reiss. “Exploring Evolution is written without a trace of the condescending tone that characterizes other publications on this topic. Park takes a holistic approach to evolutionary science and conveys his enthusiasm with language appropriate for a general audience.

The Universe Within

by Neil Shubin

New York: Pantheon Books, 2013. 240 pages.

In the sequel to Your Inner Fish, writes reviewer Alycia Stigall, “Shubin takes an even more expansive approach to explaining how humans came to occupy our place in this world—and indeed how this world even came to be a place for us to occupy. … Moreover, he deftly intersperses his discussion of evolutionary innovations with anecdotes about the scientists and studies that generated these insights.

Evolution and Medicine

edited by Randolph M. Nesse
London: Henry Stewart Talks, 2007. Two CDs, approximately 27.5 hours.

Describing Evolution and Medicine as “a series of talks by leading evolutionary biologists and medical theorists on the relevance of evolution to medical theory and practice” that “constitute a splendid feast of chewable morsels on what is a large and comprehensive smorgasbord of evolutionary ideas,” reviewer Niall Shanks recommended it as “a very well-structured series of talks of use to a variety of educators,” particularly those teaching college students intending to enter medical scho

Proving Darwin: Making Biology Mathematical

by Gregory Chaitin
New York: Pantheon Books, 2012. 144 pages.

“This is an infuriating little book,” writes reviewer Jeffrey Shallit, complaining of its poor writing, its failure to cite relevant literature, and its author’s tendency for self-promotion and exaggeration. “Nevertheless, despite all these flaws … the book is written in an engaging and enthusiastic style, and does contain one rather interesting idea.” Shallit concludes, “So contrary to the title of his book, Chaitin has not proved Darwin mathematically.

Naming Nature: The Clash between Instinct and Science

by Carol Kaesuk Yoon
New York: WW Norton, 2009. 299 pages

Reviewer Andrew J. Petto writes, “the story of the history and diversity of life is a saga of descent from shared ancestral populations. Therefore, our way of naming organisms ought to reflect those biologic relationships.

Life Ascending

by Nick Lane
New York: W. W. Norton, 2009. 344 pages.

Jere H. Lipps writes, in his review-essay of Life Ascending, "Nick Lane’s book is terrific, a different presentation of evolution than we have generally had in the past. Lane, a biochemist, has chosen ten 'Great Inventions of Evolution' to write about and to convey 'some of my own thrill in the chase'. And thrilling each chase is.

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