In the News, April 2016
Posted 04.12.16: The Wall Street Journal on Dreams of a Great Small Nation: The Mutinous Army that Threatened a Revolution, Destroyed an Empire, Founded a Republic, and Remade the Map of Europe by Kevin J. McNamara: "It is an epic story unknown even to many World War I history buffs…. With admirable energy he has assembled the story by piecing together archival records and the memoirs of the gallant men who served…. Fascinating."
Posted 04.12.16: A starred review from Booklist for Fail U.: The False Promise of Higher Education by Charles J. Sykes: "Sykes here poses hard questions about the quality and substance of what the nation's universities now deliver. Too often, Sykes concludes, colleges give their students little but debt to show for their years on campus. As they visit a wide range of schools, readers see how administrators lavish resources on impressive buildings, on powerhouse athletic programs, and on aloof professors who dodge students so they can write unreadable and unread tomes of research. With telling statistics and piquant anecdotes, Sykes indicts higher educators for teaching students little about the humanities, mathematics, or the sciences, while indoctrinating them in rigid new political orthodoxies. Laying out a bold agenda for reform, Sykes calls for a university system smaller and less dependent on government largesse, less politically correct, and more open to online instruction than the one now bankrupting many students and their families. Certain to stimulate a much-needed debate." (Booklist is published by the American Library Association.)
Posted 03.22.16: “The problem of consciousness sits at the heart of neuroscience, and it is into this question that Yale computer-science professor David Gelernter steps with his fascinating The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness.… Gelernter is an expert on artificial intelligence, and this book is an interesting and unexpected departure for him.... He shows a lovely deference not to neuroimaging or computers but to the pen...the technique allows him to paint a rich portrait of different modes of thinking, something like Proust's masterly descriptions of the workings of memory.”—David Eagleman, The Wall Street Journal
Posted 03.16.16: A starred review in Publishers Weekly for Dreams of a Great Small Nation: The Mutinous Army that Threatened a Revolution, Destroyed an Empire, Founded a Republic, and Remade the Map of Europe by Kevin J. McNamara: “In this captivating narrative history, McNamara reveals the obscure yet grand story of how a small, motley, and hastily organized army ushered in the founding of the nation of Czechoslovakia…. McNamara proves to be a great storyteller as he very effectively weaves together newly translated firsthand accounts of Czech-Slovak soldiers with secondary historical sources.”
Posted 03.08.16: “David Gelernter has designed a creative metaphysics for the digital age.”—Mara Delius, Die Welt
Posted 03.04.16: “Sometimes it takes an expert to recognize when expertise is not enough. In his preface to The Tides of Mind: Uncovering the Spectrum of Consciousness, David Gelernter, a professor of computer science at Yale, explains how for years he tried to answer crucial questions about the nature of consciousness through computer modeling. But while computation can ape reasonably well our rational thought, he argues, what makes us human is our capacity to move up and down a spectrum of consciousness, from the crisp attention we feel when wide awake to the aimless associative states of drowsiness and daydreaming.... Gelernter employs not algorithms but introspection, personal reflection, and an engagement with a broad range of literary sources.… Gelernter's explorations of self make for rewarding reading.”—Kathryn Tabb, The American Scholar