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Tuesday, 26 December 2006

Science books of 2006

Another year, another shelf-load of science books. Over on Dan Vergano has his take in The science books of 2006: A bountiful year.

Reading the list, you get the impression that in the USA authors are more adventurous in the subjects they write about. For example, while in the UK we get some fascinating insights into the history of military science, it rarely deals with anything since the Second World War. I certainly can't recall anything here that deals with the current connections between science and the military. Maybe nobody in the UK writes books like this is because the defence world here has abandoned science in its pursuit of better weapons.

As Vergano rightly says "A secret history of modern science could be assembled by looking at the links between military spending and research advances." In the USA they have the beginning s of that history, he says, mentioning "three good books out this year [that] might form chapters in this history". One of these books is by an ABSW member, Nigel Hey, who gave us The Star Wars Enigma: Behind the Scenes of the Cold War Race for Missile Defense.

One way in which the USA looks much like the UK when it comes to science books is the popularity of evolution as a subject. Then again, some of the books Vergano mentions are by Brits. With creationism rearing its head here to, expect this trend to continue.

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