Short Reviews

Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman

by Marjorie Shostak

Science in Traditional China: A Comparative Perspective

by Joseph Needham
While there have been many rich descriptions of the life—and the nowchanging times—of the !Kung of south central Africa, this account by Marjorie Shostak, a Harvard anthropologist, is noteworthy for its focus on a single person. Nisa (the name is fictitious) is a woman now sixtyish, forthcoming in personality, and …

Short Reviews

Indian Running

by Peter Nabokov

Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

by James H. Jones
For nine days in August last year a group of Pueblo Indians ran from Taos, New Mexico, to the Hopi Cultural Center on Second Mesa in Arizona. Hardly a record-setting time for a distance of just over 375 miles, but then speed was not the point. In fact, this wasn’t …

Short Reviews


by Felix Franks

Wounded Men, Broken Promises: How the Veterans Administration Betrays Yesterday's Heroes

by Robert Klein
Who remembers “polywater”? About a decade ago the idea that water could exist in nature in an exceptionally stable and viscous form, with a much higher boiling point and lower freezing point than ordinary water, was the talk of several continents. Perhaps this was the “bound” water in living cells.

Short Reviews

Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War

by William Manchester

The Wolf: A Species in Danger

by Erik Zimen, translated by Eric Mosbacher
We couldn’t, thinks ex-Marine Sergeant Manchester, take Tarawa again (or Guadalcanal or Iwo Jima or Okinawa). Today’s young wouldn’t plod “patiently on and on”—chest-deep in water, weapons over their heads, keeping formation—“while their comrades were keeling over on all sides.” That isn’t the only message of Manchester’s return, in memory …

Short Review

Army Brat

by William J. Smith
Son of a gambling, boozing, clarinet-playing corporal in the Sixth Infantry Band, the poet and critic William Jay Smith grew up at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri—and this quiet, drifting, moodily detailed memoir captures the intense yet monotonous, still air of the “peace-time, brown-boot Army,” along with the particular quirks of the …

Short Reviews

A Just Measure of Pain: The Penitentiary in the Industrial Revolution 1750-1850

by Michael Ignatieff

Elusive Victory: The Arab-Israeli Wars, 1947-1974

by Trevor N. Dupuy
Taking as his subject the transformation in the treatment of criminals that occurred in Britain between 1750 and 1850, Michael Ignatieff has made a real contribution to the growing literature that deals with the emergence of penitentiaries as “total institutions” of incarceration. While Michel Foucault, for instance, has illuminated the …

Short Reviews

The Dionne Years: A Thirties Melodrama

by Pierre Berton

Visions of Glory: A History and a Memory of Jehovah's Witnesses

by Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
The Dionne Years: A Thirties Melodrama Deep in the scrub of Northern Ontario, approached by an unpaved two-lane road—few in those parts had cars in the Thirties—lay the enclave of souvenir stands, homestead, and hospital/stadium known the world over as Quintland. Prefaced by an artist’s reconstruction of the slie, …

Short Reviews

The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben

by Joseph Borkin

Of Wolves and Men

by Barry Holstun Lopez
Joseph Borkin’s book on the huge chemical combine I.G. Farben is a case study in the relations between business and politics. Formed in 1916 out of the major German chemical companies (among them BASF, Bayer, and Agfa), I.G. Farben has demonstrated an uncanny ability to survive those political regimes with …