RaveThe New York TimesIn these pieces, plucked from the last 20 years, Holt takes on infinity and the infinitesimal, the illusion of time, the birth of eugenics, the so-called new atheism, smartphones and distraction. It is an elegant history of recent ideas. There are a few historical correctives ... But he generally prefers to perch in the middle of a muddle—say, the string theory wars—and hear evidence from both sides without rushing to adjudication ... Holt is an amphibious kind of writer, so capably slipping from theology to cosmology to poetry, you’re reminded that specialization is a modern invention ... Part of what makes Holt so exciting is his ability to gather these disciplines under his shingle, to make their knottiest questions not only intelligible but enticing, without sacrificing rigor.
PositiveThe New York TimesThese aren’t tales from the dark ages of medicine. They are ordinary modern realities documented in Maya Dusenbery’s well researched, wonderfully truculent new book, Doing Harm, one of a cluster of new investigations into gender bias in medical treatment that also includes Ask Me About My Uterus, by Abby Norman, and 'Invisible,' by Michele Lent Hirsch. To put it kindly: These books are a mixed bag. Dusenbery, the editor of the website Feministing, is the most capable writer of the bunch, and Doing Harm is an orderly blizzard of studies and statistics examining sexism at every level in medicine, from medical school admissions on up.
PositiveThe New York TimesBlue Dreams arrives in the thick of a debate about the pharmaceutical approach to mental health, and synthesizes forceful critiques from Gary Greenberg, Irving Kirsch and Robert Whitaker, among others. Slater is pithy, readable and generally fair, although I wish she had engaged more thoroughly with the defense of antidepressants ... The real strength of this book comes from Slater’s very particular position. She is patient and psychologist, part of the first wave of people who were prescribed Prozac in the 1980s. She describes how, in the years since, her mind has been saved and her body destroyed ... Blue Dreams, like all good histories of medicine, reveals healing to be art as much as science. Slater doesn’t demonize the imperfect remedies of the past or present — even as she describes their costs with blunt severity. And, improbably perhaps, she ends on a note of hope, calling these early efforts to address mental illness 'the first golden era.'