Customer Reviews


18 Reviews
5 star:
 (13)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and Even-handed Book
Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know by Robert Peter Gale, M.D., and Eric Lax

"Radiation" is an even-handed, educational and accessible book on radiation. The book covers many forms of radiation like microwaves and radio waves which have insufficient energy to alter cells to the more energetic forms known as ionizing radiations that can alter the...
Published 16 months ago by Book Shark

versus
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Admiral effort for a very tough subject
This complex subject becomes more complex the more you read. The answers are many and fuzzy since one cannot test effects of radiation on humans, but instead has to rely on exposure studies from WWII, Chernobyl and Fukishima. While the book did appear to cover what is known, it would have benefitted greatly from shorter more numerous chapters so the reader could have a...
Published 13 months ago by OKay


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Accessible and Even-handed Book, April 8, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know by Robert Peter Gale, M.D., and Eric Lax

"Radiation" is an even-handed, educational and accessible book on radiation. The book covers many forms of radiation like microwaves and radio waves which have insufficient energy to alter cells to the more energetic forms known as ionizing radiations that can alter the structure of atoms. Scientist, physician, and author of twenty-two medical books, Robert Peter Gale, has teamed up with accomplished author Eric Lax to produce a readable and interesting book on an often misunderstood topic, radiation. This enlightening 288-page book is composed by the following nine chapters: 1. Assessing the Risks, 2. Radiation from Discovery to Today, 3. The Nature of Radiation, 4. Radiation and Cancer, 5. Genetic Diseases, Birth Defects, and Irradiated Food, 6. Radiation and Medicine, 7. Bombs, 8. Nuclear Power and Radioactive Waste, and Summing Up.

Positives:
1. A well-researched, well-written and even-handed book. Accessible for the masses.
2. An excellent educational tool that addresses a much misunderstood topic, radiation. "The specter of radiation is so frightening to many people that it eclipses reality."
3. Understanding the main differences between the two main type of radiation: ionizing (which can cause cancer) and nonionizing (generally little harm with the exception of ultraviolet radiations).
4. The main focus of the book is to reduce the gap between what we fear and what is real about radiation. Mission accomplished.
5. The book is full of interesting facts, "Radon-222 and related radionuclides are estimated to be the most common cause of lung cancer deaths in nonsmokers."
6. The book examines some of the cancers that ionizing radiations can cause: lung, breast, thyroid, and leukemia to name a few. "Cells in the bone marrow are especially sensitive to cancer-causing mutations from ionizing radiation."
7. There are many examples provided throughout the book. The two main examples are the Chernobyl reactor building and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility. "The Chernobyl reactor building was destroyed by a steam explosion, and part of the Fukushima reactor building was destroyed by an explosion of highly flammable hydrogen gas.
8. How radioactivity interacts with humans (dose). "Scientists agree that above a certain dose (usually about 50 or 100 mSv) there is a linear relationship between radiation dose and cancer risk: the higher the dose, the greater the risk."
9. The authors seamlessly provide historical scientific context into the narrative. "In 1914 Rutherford would prove that gamma rays were a form of light similar to X-rays but with a far shorter wavelength and thus penetrated deeper than the other rays or particles."
10. The difference between fission and fusion. "The difference between fission and fusion is that fusion requires a great deal more energy to start the chain reaction, but fusion also yields vastly more energy--a hydrogen (fusion) bomb is roughly one thousand times more powerful than an atomic (fission) bomb."
11. Thought-provoking issues, "people concerned about global warming are often firmly opposed to nuclear energy, yet it is the only immediately available energy source able to substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions, albeit with some inherent but potentially solvable problems."
12. Chemistry plays a pivotal role, "All elements with a higher number in the periodic table than thallium (atomic number 81) have radioactive isotopes, and all isotopes of elements from polonium (number 84) and higher are radioactive".
13. The authors did a good job of establishing what we know to a high degree of certainty in some areas and where lack convincing data. "Finally, we lack convincing data that early detection of thyroid cancer results in a health benefit."
14. Putting the number of deaths that can be attributed to radioactive releases in perspective. "radiation-induced genetic abnormalities are not passed from the affected persons to their children, as studies of exposed Japanese mothers and their children make clear."
15. Some of the well known causes of cancer, "But smoking a cigarette is, in some regards, like intentionally inhaling a small nuclear weapon into your lungs. Cigarette manufacturers have known about the presence of polonium-210 in tobacco since the 1960s." And some factors that don't cause cancer, "Nonionizing radiations, like those associated with microwaves and cell phones, are not convincingly associated with an increased cancer risk."
16. The difference between genetic disorders and birth defects. "Changes in the number of chromosomes are also important. For example, children with Down syndrome have an extra chromosome 21, whereas girls with Turner syndrome are missing one X-chromosome."
17. And what's not to love about evolution, "We may wonder why whales and dolphins living in water have their bone marrow stem cells in bone cavities. This is because they derive from terrestrial ancestors."
18. Interesting topic of food irradiation. "Food irradiation has the potential to save millions more lives than it harms, especially since it very probably does no harm."
19. Medical applications of radiation, "The conclusion that people at high risk for lung cancer should have screening radiological studies remains controversial but presently favors screening."
20. A look at nuclear weapons. "About 50 percent of the energy released by the A-bombs was blast energy, about 35 percent was thermal energy, and only about 15 percent was radiation, most of it neutrinos that did not contaminate the area."
21. An excellent summary chapter, an engaging Questions and Answers section.
22. Bibliography provided.

Negatives:
1. The book warranted more charts and diagrams within the narrative of the book.
2. Intended for the masses the book lacks depth.
3. The book needed more citations.
4. Free radicals is a fairly hot topic and warranted at the very least a citation.

In summary, I enjoyed reading this book. It's well-written, well-researched and it takes a complex topic such as radiation and makes it not only accessible but quite enjoyable to read. The authors treated the topic even handedly and really did a good job of educating the public of what to fear and what is real about radiation. The book lacks depth, warranted more citations and would have been better served with more diagrams as part of the main narrative of the book. That being said, this book achieved its main goal of closing the gap between fear and knowledge. I highly recommend it!

Further recommendations: "Nuclear Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know" by Charles D. Ferguson, "Energy for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines by Muller, Richard A." by Richard A. Muller, "Clean Break: The Story of Germany's Energy Transformation and What Americans Can Learn from It" by Osha Gray Davidson, "The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment" by Chris Martenson, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition" by Richard Rhodes, and "The Manhattan Project: The Birth of the Atomic Bomb in the Words of Its Creators, Eyewitnesses, and Historians" by Cynthia C. Kelly.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Balanced and informative, June 30, 2013
By 
Andrew Charig (Princeton, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know (Hardcover)
Lax and Gale are to be applauded or their clear explanations and thoroughly objective assessment of relative risks and benefits - the exact opposite of the many hysterical books on the subject.

However, the book is sprinkled with quite a number of small errors:

p. 66 There are known radioactive isotopes of EVERY element, not just those above thallium.

p. 89 Doctors use I-125 to scan thyroids, not I-127; I-127 is stable.

p. 142 Charcoal is not a hydrocarbon.

p. 186 How do VOCs produce ozone and sulfur dioxide (a water-soluble gas) produce solid particles? If this is right, it deserves an explanation.

throughout, they need to pay better attention to discriminating between radiation, radioactivity, and radioactive materials.

I'm sure these are just slips that better proofing would have caught.

So hats off to Gale and Lax for their objectivity, but back on again for their editing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best available facts at this time on the true risk of radiation, March 29, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know (Hardcover)
This book puts the radiation health risk of nuclear power in perspective. It points out that the the risks of climate change from fosil fuel burning out weigh the potential health risks associated with nuclear power. This is a sorely needed message in that the public thinks that nuclear power is a thousand times more dangerous than coal burning but the data shows that the oposite is in fact the reality.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Excellent!, March 25, 2013
By 
G. Poirier (Orleans, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know (Hardcover)
This book is a major and important contribution to the growing library of books aimed at explaining complex scientific issues to the general reader. But more than that, the authors have picked a field that sparks fear in the minds of many and that is also plagued by controversy.

Remaining strictly objective and adhering to nothing but the facts and the observed data, the authors have done an absolutely wonderful job in explaining, in plain language, the history, nature, sources, uses and (particularly) biological effects of radiation as well as the terminology used. Although non-ionizing radiation and its sources are briefly covered, the book is mainly concerned with the ionizing variety. One of the authors, Dr. R.P. Gale, is a world-renowned medical expert in this field and several experiences from his career are described.

The prose is a model of clarity, quite lively, clearly authoritative and highly engaging; I found the play-by-play description of the Goiania incident to be particularly gripping. Ending with a useful question and answer section and amply referenced, this is a book that should appeal to anyone, especially those concerned about all aspects of ionizing radiation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An accomplishment - approachable and informative, February 13, 2013
This review is from: Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know (Hardcover)
An outstanding achievement, covers in clear terms the details of what radiation is, its effects on the human body, what is not understood, and the many uses that radiation has in our world.

This book is remarkable for its focused, matter-of-fact tone, and the clear intent to give the reader instruments to make reasoned decisions around an oft-hyped topic vastly affected by poor reporting and deliberate fear-mongering. Gale and Lax provide good data to take decisions about radiation both as an individual and as a policymaker and include hefty doses of common sense to combat the abundant hysteria surrounding the subject.

The authors don't shy away from declaring some areas poorly understood, but doing so in the context of the known facts, bounding the uncertainty space at both minimum and maximum understood endpoints. Very often, these known extremes are sufficient to contextualize available information, and understand what is a matter of concern for an individual, and what is only relevant in aggregate numbers as a matter of a country's health policy.

If you live close to a nuclear power plant, or are concerned about airport scanners, medical scans, or cell-phone emissions, this is a good book for you to read to evaluate real risks and what actions are best taken (or not taken).

The author's work is a public service to an area riddled with exaggeration and hyperbole, other subects of public policy and private concern would benefit from such a dispassionate, approachable, and clear expert opinion. A highly recommended read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative book., May 30, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Radiation provides an understanding of concepts that everyone one will benefit from. It highlights dangers, describes benefits, but most importantly provides knowledge that mitigates irrational, unwarranted fears.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars RADIATION -- So much of what is reported on the news media is irrelevent and confusing that ....., April 3, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It is a pleasure to find this book relevant and factual. It is written by a physician with excellent credentials and experience in the field of leukemia. By first addressing the radiation effects of the survivors of the Hiroshima / Nagasaki atomic bombs studied in a joint USA-Japanese study still ongoing, the book shows how little were the effects and why. After further explanations based on Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, the book addresses the survivors of the Fukushima massive tsunami waves to explain ( page 132) why “any impact of radiation released at Fukushima is extremely unlikely”. This was confirmed upon completion on April 2, 2014 by the United Nations’ study of Fukushima by their international technical group, originally formed to study the atomic bomb effects. AND THE BOOK IS READABLE !!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Radiation For Dummies, March 21, 2014
This was a very detailed account of various radiological subjects. The authors have clearly defined many aspects of radiation through the ages. The discussions within these pages takes the myths/horrors that I had once held and gave me a better sense of understanding, less fear. I would recommend this read to anyone with preconceived notions about nuclear power etc... this book will educate and hopefully ease ones mind about the use/exposure to radiation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Radiation Fear Mitigated., March 19, 2014
By 
The question that most surfaces when the topic of radiation comes up is, “Will it cause cancer?” Ironically, we use radiation therapy to help cure cancer! Nevertheless, to address the cancer issue of radiation properly, it entails reading the chapter on cancer. It seems that the nature of radiation and its action on cells and DNA is so complex that only the chapter can clarify its place. And even then, much can slip by the reader. This is not the fault of the writers of this volume, but it is instead the number of different topics that radiation involves and the incredible number of ways in which radiation works.

The authors want us to understand that the normal exposure that represents daily life is no more risky than any other danger in the world. It’s only when we work with it or live in an environment that is subject to radiation blasts, such as the International Space Station.

At the end, the reader has a good sense of what radiation is and how it is dangerous even though he may not easily explain this to another person. That is because the concept is complex. It’s not that it’s too difficult for the average person to understand, but rather the nature of radiation is complex and far-reaching.

Overall, the authors have done a spectacular job at organizing the material and found a clear, streamlined way of presenting it. Great summer reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview on radiation, January 5, 2014
By 
Rauli (Vesivehmaa, Finland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was a very healthy an balanced book on radiation, and excellently met the goals it set for itself in the beginning. Namely, to make something as scary and vague concept as radiation a much more clear and tangible subject.

Much of the information was not actually new for me (given that I have studied the subject a bit from other sources also), but it was collected and presented in a very pleasant and easy to read way.

I can only imagine the huge value this book will be for someone that is less informed on the subject. Alas, the problem might be in how to get these people to read about radiation in the first place. With the internet and mass-media full of disinformation and biased comments on the subject (for example Fukushima news), one can only hope that as many as possible actually do read this book. I heartily recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know
Radiation: What It Is, What You Need to Know by Eric Lax (Hardcover - January 29, 2013)
$26.95 $19.46
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.