Book of the Day club: March 2008 Archives

Beam me up!

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Physicist Michio Kaku writes about antimatter — it's what powered spaceships in "Star Trek" — in his new book, Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration Into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel (Doubleday, 352 pages, 26.95).

Physics of the Impossible_

"A professor at the City University of New York, Kaku appears to have read every major tract by Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg and Kurt Godel, plus a mountain of comic books and science fiction novels," writes Jeffrey Tannenbaum in a review for Bloomberg News. "His own book assesses whether phasers, teleportation and other technologies used by Flash Gordon and Captain Kirk could really be developed."

Because of his ability to explain complex scientific issues in easy-to-understand terms, Kaku has created a following on TV news shows, documentaries and radio programs, talking about the same subjects he covers in the new book.

Greed, intrigue, Lawrence of Arabia

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By MARY FOSTER

T.E. Lawrence told his version of the Arab revolt, building the legend of Lawrence of Arabia and the intrigue of that time.

In Setting the Desert on Fire: T.E. Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918 (W.W. Norton & Company, 352 pages, $27.95), James Barr tells a wider but no less fascinating tale of the revolt and the present-day consequences for the Middle East.

Setting the Desert on Fire

The Turks jumped into World War I on the side of Germany. Their leader declared jihad against the British and their allies. The Turks had controlled much of the Middle East and North Africa for 400 years and expected the Arabs to follow their lead.

Instead, Sharif Hussein, ruler of Mecca, used the moment as an opportunity to curry favor with the British. Hussein wanted more than good will, however, he had a list of demands that he presented to British commissioner Henry McMahon. McMahon in turn assured Hussein that in return for their aid, the British would make sure the Arabs were independent and grant them land stretching across much of the modern middle east.

In Setting the Desert on Fire, Barr shows it was a lie that brought disastrous effects that are still resonating today.

High stakes adventure

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I chose today's entry because of my fascination with mountain climbing. I have never been mountain climbing, nor do I plan on ever mountain climbing. I'm simply fascinated by those who risk their lives for a thrill.

Certainly it is more than the thrill that motivates some climbers — not to mention skydivers, racecar drivers and extreme hot-air balloonists like Steve Fossett, who not too long ago was declared dead after he and his 'round-the-world balloon disappeared. There are still folks out there who take pride in setting a goal and accomplishing it.

But according to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Kodas, getting to the summit of Mt. Everest has turned ugly, and more dangerous due to commercialism and greed.

In High Crimes: The Fate of Everest in an Age of Greed (Hyperion Books. 357 pages. $24.95), author Kodas recounts, from personal experience, a once pure pastime muddied by misguided motivation.

High Crimes

Read a review of the book ...


Medill prof takes a look at the news biz

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Author Michele Weldon, an assistant professor at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism takes a fresh look at the changing face of newspapers in her latest book, Everyman News: The Changing American Front Page (University of Missouri Press, 280 pages, $39.95).

You might remember Weldon from a few years ago when she appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," with her 1999 memoir, I Closed My Eyes: Revelations of a Battered Woman.


Michele Weldon
Michele Weldon at work. (Keith Hale~Sun-Times)


Here's a review of Everyman News:

Has anyone seen my keys?

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How many times have you asked yourself that question before leaving the house, or worse, when returning home? How many times a day do those of you in your 30s or 40s forget what you were going to say, or find yourself grasping for a word you know but can't quite pluck off the tip of your tongue?

Martha Weinman Lear ponders these and other troubling memory issues in her new book Where Did I Leave My Glasses? The What, When, and Why of Normal Memory Loss (Wellness Central, 245 pages, $22.99).

Where Did I Leave My Glasses?

Life's a gamble

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Round about the time America's love affair with Texas Hold 'Em took hold, writer Martha Frankel had already dived in, head-first, hit bottom and lived to tell the tale in Hats & Eyeglasses: A Family Love Affair With Gambling (Penguin, 240 pages, $23.95).

Hats & Eyeglasses

Here's a review...

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Book of the Day club category from March 2008.

Book of the Day club: February 2008 is the previous archive.

Book of the Day club: April 2008 is the next archive.

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