Books for the News

Friday Remainders

jacket imageFirst in today’s roundup: tips for the road. Time Out Chicago recently featured some “essential trunk items every Chicagoan should carry.” Alongside your $50 in quarters for downtown parking meters, a siphon in case of painful increases in gas prices, and a tire inflator for unfortunate encounters with gaping potholes, The Encyclopedia of Chicago is the savvy commuter’s book of choice for whiling away hours stuck in Chicago’s third-in-the-nation-worst traffic.
See a special website for The Encyclopedia of Chicago.
Two of our books were reviewed in the latest issue of the New York Review of Books. Stephen Shapin’s The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation is given the once-over by H. Allen Orr who ultimately produces a favorable assessment of what Orr describes as Shapin’s natural history of the American scientist. A revealing look at the disjunction between dominant sociological views of science and its realities, as Orr writes, Shapin’s treatment is “a major contribution to a fascinating topic.”
Read an interview with Shapin and listen to an audio interview he did for the Chicago Audio Works podcast.
Reinhold Niebuhr’s The Irony of American History was referenced along with several other books about the pre-eminent 20th century intellectual in a review essay by Brian Urquhart, who begins his article by noting Barack Obama’s admiration for Niebuhr’s work:

A fog of know-nothing ideology, anti-intellectualism, cronyism, incompetence, and cynicism has, for eight years, enveloped the executive branch of the United States government. That fog is now being dispersed, and the vast intellectual and managerial resources of the United States are once again being mobilized.
A blessing of this time of liberation and hope is that serious works of political analysis and philosophy may contribute to the new administration’s approach to its daunting agenda of global and national problems. That Barack Obama has made clear his admiration for one of the books under review—Reinhold Niebuhr’s The Irony of American History—is in itself reassuring.

Read an excerpt from The Irony of American History.
Have a relaxing weekend.