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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 Paperback – October 4, 2011


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Product Details

  • Series: Best American (Book 2011)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547350635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547350639
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[A] uniformly excellent series." (Publishers Weekly ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling

The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country’s finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume’s series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind.

The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011 includes
Atul Gawande, Jonathan Franzen, Deborah Blum, Malcolm Gladwell, Oliver Sacks, Jon Mooallem,
Jon Cohen, Luke Dittrich, and others

[insert author photo] Mary Roach, editor, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. She has written for National Geographic, Wired, New Scientist, the New York Times Book Review, the Journal of Clinical Anatomy, and Outside, among others. She is a member of the Mars Institute's advisory board and a winner of the American Engineering Societies' Engineering Journalism Award, in a category for which, let's be honest, she was the sole entrant. More at www.maryroach.net.

Look for the other best-selling titles in the Best American series:

The Best American Comics
The Best American Essays
The Best American Mystery Stories
The Best American Nonrequired Reading
The Best American Short Stories
The Best American Sports Writing
The Best American Travel Writing


--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
21
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See all 34 customer reviews
I look forward to reading and reviewing this series every year.
The Spinozanator
Mary Roach did an excellent job of assembling this eclectic collection of science & nature writing.
M. Walker
I've enjoyed reading this far, and enjoy writing papers about the topics from this book.
racheal cull

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 125 people found the following review helpful By The Spinozanator VINE VOICE on October 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I look forward to reading and reviewing this series every year. These articles undergo a lot of scrutiny and, as you might expect, there's not a single one that's not exceptional. Science journalists have a harder time finding places to publish these days, hard science is less available, and the articles are getting fluffier. That's not really OK with me but it is what it is - and it reflects the scientific literacy of most US readers and is thus inevitable. Like last year, this year's edition is heavy on medical science:

"The Organ Dealer" by Bhattacharjee: When the illegal underground market gets hold of something people want, people suffer. This article demonstrates that concept for the worldwide organ transplant business.

*One of my favorites - "Nature's Spoils" by Burkhard Bilger: A delightful romp through an alternative lifestyle as you rediscover the symbiotic relationship between humankind and bacteria. The author takes us from "urban squatters" who are not above dumpster diving to homesteaders living on communes who prefer raw milk and roadkill. Be prepared to "read through" some of the earthier parts of this article while our author drives home the idea that "Modern hygiene has prevented countless colds, fevers, and other ailments, but its central premise is hopelessly outdated. The human body isn't besieged: it's saturated - infused with microbial life at every level."

"The Chemist's War" by Blum: During Prohibition people found liquor by whatever means. The easiest way was to procure industrial alcohol and dress it up with a new flavor. Deciding to fight fire with fire, the government poisoned industrial alcohol. By the time Prohibition ended in 1933 this federal program had killed at least 10,000 citizens.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By J. Peyton on October 13, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
NOTE: This is not a review of the contents. This is a buyer beware notice:

PROBLEM: Author names aren't included in the Kindle version table of contents. That may seem minor, but one of the great things about these anthologies is that you can skip around from author to author. The Kindle version makes it impossible to do this, which is frankly kind of annoying. The "Look Inside!" table of contents for the paperback version is what it should look like.

If you read the anthologies from front to back, then ignore this review. If you're like me and you like to skip around by author (or even magazine), you might be better off buying the paperback. I wish I had.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Murphy TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been reading this series for more than ten years. It has consistently been the single best way for the harried resident of the 21st century to come up to speed on what is going on in the crazy, achingly beautiful, wonderful world of well done science. This issue....it is simply the best ever. You want thrills and chills? Occasionally like to read something scary enough to give you a tingling spine and goosebumps? Do you enjoy having your mind subjected to a scientifc Shock and Awe campaign from time to time? Are you the type that has been known to lapse into a nirvana like state when exposed to repeated "Eureka!" moments, pummeled into bliss by overdoses of intoxicating insights? Well, then. If your answer is yes to any or all of the above questions, drop that trashy beach novel, toss that overly serious mono-topic non-fiction tome that you're dutifully, with all the determination of a nuclear powered icebreaker, forging through, and buy this book. Buy it yesterday, and enjoy it for many tomorrows.

I'm not going to list each story's theme. But here's what you can expect: the best contemporary science and nature writers of 2011 allow you to see outward into the universe with the power of the Hubble Space Telescope, look inward with the detail of tunneling electron microscopy, and most importantly of all, allow you to look into an extremely highly polished mirror. And you'll see in this mirror, in exquisite detail, how we humans react when confronted with birth, life, sex. How we act when our desire for gastronomic delicacies threatens the existence of a non-human species.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. Sepulveda on March 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let's be clear: the reason I'm giving this only 2 stars and not 5 has nothing to do with the quality of the articles themselves. Most are well written, entertaining and interesting and well worth the price of admission. My issue is about expectations: I was expecting actual science/nature writing and not articles of general interest. The big majority of the articles come from magazines like New Yorker and The Atlantic. Now, someone would be hard-pressed to catalog those magazine as "scientific" magazines. Even the articles coming from more science oriented magazine (like Discover and Scientific American) are hardly other than articles of general interest. Again, there is nothing wrong with that and I read most of them but if you are looking for truly scientific articles of the type that are published in Science or American Scientist you will be disappointed. I was.
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