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216 Featured Titles

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Exam Copy
The Story of Oil
Written by Sonia Shah

Format: Trade Paperback, 246 pages
Publisher: Seven Stories Press
On Sale: May 2, 2006
Price: $15.95
ISBN: 978-1-58322-723-7 (1-58322-723-7)

Crude is the unexpurgated story of oil, from the circumstances of its birth millions of years ago to the spectacle of its rise as the indispensable ingredient of modern life. In addition to fueling our SUVs and illuminating our cities, crude oil and its byproducts fertilize our produce, pave our roads... Read more >
Also available as an eBook and a hardcover.

Exam Copy
The Immortal Game
A History of Chess
Written by David Shenk

Format: Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Anchor
On Sale: October 2, 2007
Price: $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-4000-3408-6 (1-4000-3408-6)

Chess is the most enduring and universal game in history. Here, bestselling author David Shenk chronicles its intriguing saga, from ancient Persia to medieval Europe to the dens of Benjamin Franklin and Norman Schwarzkopf. Along the way, he examines a single legendary game that took place in London in 1851 between... Read more >

Exam Copy
Second Nature
Environmental Enrichment for Captive Animals
Edited by David J. Shepherdson, Jill D. Mellen and Michael Hutchins

Format: Trade Paperback, 376 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: May 14, 1999
Price: $22.95
ISBN: 978-1-56098-397-2 (1-56098-397-3)

Growing recognition of the complexity of animals’ physical, social, and psychological lives in the wild has led both zookeepers and the zoo-going public to call for higher environmental standards for animals in captivity.

Bringing together the work of animal behaviorists, zoo biologists, and psychologists, Second Nature explores a range of innovative strategies... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Code Book
The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Written by Simon Singh

Format: Trade Paperback, 432 pages
Publisher: Anchor
On Sale: August 29, 2000
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-0-385-49532-5 (0-385-49532-3)

In his first book since the bestselling Fermat's Enigma, Simon Singh offers the first sweeping history of encryption, tracing its evolution and revealing the dramatic effects codes have had on wars, nations, and individual lives. From Mary, Queen of Scots, trapped by her own code, to the Navajo Code Talkers who... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Fermat's Enigma
The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem
Written by Simon Singh
Foreword by John Lynch

Format: Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Publisher: Anchor
On Sale: September 8, 1998
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-0-385-49362-8 (0-385-49362-2)

"I have discovered a truly marvelous proof, which this margin is too narrow to contain." With these words, the seventeenth-century French mathematician Pierre de Fermat threw down the gauntlet to future generations. What came to be known as Fermat's Last Theorem looked simple, yet proving it would baffle the finest minds... Read more >

Exam Copy
How the Great Pyramid Was Built

Written by Craig Smith
Afterword by Mark Lehner
Foreword by Zahi Hawass

Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: October 17, 2004
Price: $27.95
ISBN: 978-1-58834-200-3 (1-58834-200-X)

Going beyond even the expertise of archaeologists and historians, world-class engineer Craig B. Smith explores the planning and engineering behind the incredible Great Pyramid of Giza. How would the ancient Egyptians have developed their building plans, devised work schedules, managed laborers, solved specific design and engineering problems, or even improvised on... Read more >

Exam Copy
We Have Capture
Tom Stafford and the Space Race
Written by Thomas P. Stafford and Michael Cassutt

Format: Trade Paperback, 302 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: January 17, 2004
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-58834-101-3 (1-58834-101-1)

What an amazing career. Tom Stafford attained the highest speed ever reached by a test pilot (28,547 mph), carried a cosmonaut’s coffin with Soviet Secretary Leonid Brezhnev, led the team that designed the sequence of missions leading to the original lunar landing, and drafted the original specifications for the B-2 stealth... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Mind-bending Science of How You See, What You Think, and Who You Are
Written by Michael S. Sweeney
Foreword by David Copperfield

Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
Publisher: National Geographic
On Sale: September 6, 2011
Price: $27.00
ISBN: 978-1-4262-0757-0 (1-4262-0757-3)

Brainworks is the captivating companion book to the three part National Geographic Channel series. The television program brings together a crack team of scientists and researchers from a wide range of fields, including neurology, psychology, and opthamology. The program makes the viewer the test subject in an array of astonishing challenges... Read more >

Exam Copy
A History of Life in 100 Fossils

Written by Paul D. Taylor and Aaron O'Dea

Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: October 14, 2014
Price: $34.95
ISBN: 978-1-58834-482-3 (1-58834-482-7)

A History of Life in 100 Fossils showcases 100 key fossils that together illustrate the evolution of life on earth. Iconic specimens have been selected from the renowned collections of the two premier natural history museums in the world, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, and the Natural History Museum, London. The fossils... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Alphabet That Changed the World
How Genesis Preserves a Science of Consciousness in Geometry and Gesture
Written by Stan Tenen
Edited by Charles Stein

Format: Trade Paperback, 392 pages
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
On Sale: July 5, 2011
Price: $44.00
ISBN: 978-1-55643-723-6 (1-55643-723-4)

Rabbinic tradition asserts that every letter of every word of the Torah is a word in itself. Author Stan Tenen demonstrates that each letter is also a hand gesture, and it is at this level that Hebrew forms a natural universal language. All people, including children before they speak and people... Read more >

Exam Copy
Why Things Bite Back
Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences
Written by Edward Tenner

Format: Trade Paperback, 448 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: September 2, 1997
Price: $18.95
ISBN: 978-0-679-74756-7 (0-679-74756-7)

In this perceptive and provocative look at everything from computer software that requires faster processors and more support staff to antibiotics that breed resistant strains of bacteria, Edward Tenner offers a virtual encyclopedia of what he calls "revenge effects"--the unintended consequences of the mechanical, chemical, biological, and medical forms of ingenuity... Read more >

Exam Copy
The Undead
Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating-Heart Cadavers--How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death
Written by Dick Teresi

Format: Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: December 11, 2012
Price: $16.00
ISBN: 978-1-4000-9611-4 (1-4000-9611-1)

What is death, and how do people in the medical profession determine it? In this fascinating examination of the increasingly blurred line between life and death, consciousness and unconsciousness, science journalist Dick Teresi introduces us to the coma specialists, organ transplant surgeons, ICU doctors, and many others who are faced with... Read more >
Also available as an eBook and a hardcover.

Exam Copy
The Undead
Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating Heart Cadavers--How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death
Written by Dick Teresi

Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Publisher: Pantheon
On Sale: March 13, 2012
Price: $26.95
ISBN: 978-0-375-42371-0 (0-375-42371-0)

Important and provocative, The Undead examines why even with the tools of advanced technology, what we think of as life and death, consciousness and nonconsciousness, is not exactly clear and how this problem has been further complicated by the business of organ harvesting.

Dick Teresi, a science writer with a dark sense... Read more >
Also available as an eBook and a trade paperback.

Exam Copy
The Ptarmigan's Dilemma
An Ecological Exploration into the Mysteries of Life
Written by John Theberge and Mary Theberge

Format: Trade Paperback, 416 pages
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
On Sale: April 5, 2011
Price: $19.95
ISBN: 978-0-7710-8518-5 (0-7710-8518-4)

Drawing on breakthrough research in evolution, genetics, and on their extensive work in the field and lab, wildlife biologists John and Mary Theberge explain for non-scientists the real facts of life.

Birds that suddenly grow gall bladders, when their species has none. Moose with antlers so big they encumber their movement through... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
At the Edge of Space
The X-15 Flight Program
Written by Milton O. Thompson
Foreword by Neil A. Armstrong

Format: Trade Paperback, 392 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: February 17, 2003
Price: $24.95
ISBN: 978-1-58834-078-8 (1-58834-078-3)

In At the Edge of Space, Milton O. Thompson tells the dramatic story of one of the most successful research aircraft ever flown. The first full-length account of the X-15 program, the book profiles the twelve test pilots (Neil Armstrong, Joe Engle, Scott Crossfield, and the author among them) chosen for... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Way of Science
Finding Truth and Meaning in a Scientific Worldview
Written by Dennis R. Trumble

Format: Trade Paperback, 375 pages
Publisher: Prometheus Books
On Sale: July 16, 2013
Price: $20.00
ISBN: 978-1-61614-755-6 (1-61614-755-5)

Most people appreciate science on an obvious level. Modern medicine, electric lighting, rapid transportation, and long-distance communication are among the many benefits of science that have made life today healthier and more comfortable than people in earlier eras could have imagined. This book is about a deeper benefit of science, one... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Probability of God
A Simple Calculation That Proves the Ultimate Truth
Written by Dr. Stephen D. Unwin

Format: Trade Paperback, 272 pages
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
On Sale: October 26, 2004
Price: $12.95
ISBN: 978-1-4000-5478-7 (1-4000-5478-8)

Does God exist?

This is probably the most debated question in the history of mankind. Scholars, scientists, and philosophers have spent their lifetimes trying to prove or disprove the existence of God, only to have their theories crucified by other scholars, scientists, and philosophers. Where the debate breaks down is in the... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Nation's Hangar
Aircraft Treasures of the Smithsonian
Written by Robert F. Van Der Linden
Photographed by Dane Penland

Format: Trade Paperback, 256 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: November 1, 2011
Price: $29.95
ISBN: 978-1-58834-316-1 (1-58834-316-2)

The Nation’s Hangar: Aircraft Treasures of the Smithsonian offers a fascinating textual and visual history of civilian, military, and commercial aviation from the earliest balloon flights to today’s most advanced aircraft.

The Nation’s Hangar charts the history of flight around the world. F. Robert Van Der Linden, a Smithsonian curator and... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Warmth Disperses and Time Passes
The History of Heat
Written by Hans Christian Von Baeyer

Format: Trade Paperback, 240 pages
Publisher: Modern Library
On Sale: June 15, 1999
Price: $15.00
ISBN: 978-0-375-75372-5 (0-375-75372-9)

If you want to know what's happening in the world, follow the heat.

Why can't your coffee "steal" heat from the air to stay piping hot? Why can't Detroit make a car that's 100 percent efficient? Why can't some genius make a perpetual motion machine? The answers lie in the field of... Read more >

Exam Copy
Embracing Mind
The Common Ground of Science and Spirituality
Written by Alan B. Wallace and Brian Hodel

Format: Trade Paperback, 272 pages
Publisher: Shambhala
On Sale: December 23, 2008
Price: $19.95
ISBN: 978-1-59030-683-3 (1-59030-683-X)

The mind is the place where science and spirituality can meet. Here a renowned scientist who is also a teacher of Buddhist meditation explores the nature of mind from scientific and spiritual perspectives to present a new model that incorporates the truths of contemplative spirituality.

“This book shows clearly and compellingly... Read more >

Exam Copy

Written by Geoffrey Waller

Format: Hardcover, 504 pages
Publisher: Smithsonian Books
On Sale: September 17, 1996
Price: $55.00
ISBN: 978-1-56098-633-1 (1-56098-633-6)

Brimming with illustrations and descriptions of more than six hundred species, SeaLife is the most comprehensive reference available in a single volume to the vast panorama of vertebrate and invertebrate creatures inhabiting the world’s oceans and shores. Topics covered include oceanography and marine biology; biology of marine environments; marine invertebrates; marine... Read more >

Exam Copy
Harvest the Wind
America's Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence, and Climate Stability
Written by Philip Warburg

Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Publisher: Beacon Press
On Sale: April 17, 2012
Price: $27.95
ISBN: 978-0-8070-0107-3 (0-8070-0107-4)

Winds sweeping across the Great Plains once robbed the Farm Belt of its future, stripping away overworked topsoil and creating the dreaded Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Today, those winds are bringing new hope to the declining rural communities of the central United States. Nowhere is wind’s promise more palpable than... Read more >
Also available as an eBook and a trade paperback.

Exam Copy
Meeting the Family
One Man's Journey Through His Human Ancestry
Written by Donovan Webster
Foreword by Spencer Wells

Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Publisher: National Geographic
On Sale: April 20, 2010
Price: $26.00
ISBN: 978-1-4262-0573-6 (1-4262-0573-2)

Donovan Webster brings his vivid journalistic gifts to a new subject, tracing our deep genealogy using cutting-edge DNA research to map our eons-old journey from prehistoric Africa into the modern world. With the same genetic haplotype as many white American males, Webster makes an ideal subject–he is a genuine Everyman. While... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
The Beak of the Finch
A Story of Evolution in Our Time
Written by Jonathan Weiner

Format: Trade Paperback
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: May 30, 1995
Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-0-679-73337-9 (0-679-73337-X)

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

The Beak of the Finch is a revolutionary work of scientific inquiry that tells the story of two evolutionary biologists engaged in an extraordinary investigation among the very species of Galapagos finches that inspired Darwin's early musings on the origin of species. For more than twenty years... Read more >
Also available as an eBook.

Exam Copy
Time, Love, Memory
A Great Biologist and His Quest for the Origins of Behavior
Written by Jonathan Weiner

Format: Trade Paperback, 320 pages
Publisher: Vintage
On Sale: April 4, 2000
Price: $17.00
ISBN: 978-0-679-76390-1 (0-679-76390-2)

From the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Beak of the Finch, the riveting story of a biologist’s search for the foundations of behavior. Looking over the shoulder of some of the premier scientists in the filed, Jonathan Weiner takes us into their laboratories to show us how pieces of DNA... Read more >
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