David Joravsky is Professor Emeritus of History at Northwestern. His books include The Lysenko Affairand Russian Psychology: A Critical History.

IN THE REVIEW

Machine Dreams

The Papers of Thomas A. Edison Volume 1: The Making of an Inventor, February 1847–June 1873

edited by Reese V. Jenkins. others

The Evolution of Technology

by George Basalla
Thomas A. Edison invented his life story as he invented electromechanical systems, by imaginative adaptations of previous stories and systems, with essential elements improved at critical points. He was the purely self-made man, without formal education, patronage, or inheritance. His invented life ignored the few years he had in a …

Glasnost Theater

Tak pobedim! (shest' p'es o Lenine) (That's How We'll Win! [Six Plays About Lenin])

by M.F. Shatrov

'Brestskii mir' (The Brest Peace)

by M.F. Shatrov
These nights in Moscow Peter Verkhovensky climbs out of a coffin-shaped trapdoor, comes down to the footlights, a greenish white face glistening against a darkened background, and harshly declaims the message of Dostoevsky’s Devils. For the intensely silent Soviet audience it is closer to lived experience than to literary fantasy: …

Off to a Bad Start

The Launching of Modern American Science, 1846–1876

by Robert V. Bruce

Controlling Life: Jacques Loeb and the Engineering Ideal in Biology

by Philip J. Pauly
Enlightenment should be possible anywhere, and sometimes is. Benjamin Franklin in colonial Philadelphia created theories of electricity that excited admiration and fruitful argument in the intellectual centers of Europe. But somehow in the century after Franklin a self-limiting provincialism stifled creative science in America. The exception that appears at the …

Return of the Native

Kapitza, Rutherford, and the Kremlin

by Lawrence Badash

Ispytuiushchie gody; Iz pisem P.L. Kapitsy k materi 1921–23 gg. ("Years of trial: From P.L. Kapitza's Letters to his Mother, 1921–1923")

edited by P.E. Rubinin
Peter Kapitza, who died last year at eighty-nine, was probably the most celebrated Soviet scientist before Sakharov, and for analogous reasons. He stood embattled at the intersection of physics and politics, an independent man of astonishing courage. But unlike Sakharov he was not savagely punished; indeed, he was honored at …

Is Science Beautiful?

Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction

by Gillian Beer
Darwin told us a story about ourselves. Novelists tell us stories of ourselves. Is there then some essential similarity between Darwin’s Descent of Man and, say, George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda? Gillian Beer thinks there is, and I believe she has some important points that illuminate both Darwin and Eliot, both …

Unholy Science

Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science

by William Broad and Nicholas Wade
Learned audiences smile happily when they hear the story of Einstein’s defiant response to Kaufmann. Walter Kaufmann was a professor of physics who had been measuring the relation between charge and mass in electrons when Einstein, a twenty-six-year-old employee of the Swiss patent office, published the special theory of relativity.