Dr. Fred Bortz



This page of the Science Shelf is a subset of the full list of books reviewed by date for people who are interested in evolution and human origins.

Dear Science Readers,

This site is a continuously growing archive of my book reviews. It is self-funded, with part of the cost covered by your purchases through my Amazon.com links. Thanks to an increasing number of visitors, revenues now cover most of my cost. I appreciate your support.

As of now, not all past reviews have been added, but I will be adding them and activating their links at a steady pace. If you see the name of a book without an active link and would be interested in my review, or if you click on a link and and get an error message, please e-mail me about it.

For a time, I added books that I had seen and could recommend, but had not written reviews for. Those books are designated with an asterisk (*) below.

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Scientifically yours,
Fred Bortz

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Reviews of books in reverse chronological order by year of publication.
For the current year, the newest additions to the site are listed first.
For previous years, they are listed alphabetically by title (neglecting initial "a/an" or "the") within each year.

[2011 and later][2010][2009][2008][2007][2006][World Year of Physics 2005][2005] [2004] [2003] [2002] [2001] [2000] [Before 2000]

2011 and later

Turning Points: How Critical Events Have Driven Human Evolution, Life, and Development by Kostas Kampourakis

Darwin's Backyard: How Small Experiments Led to a Big Theory by James T. Costa

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg

The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Herding Hemingway's Cats: Understanding How Our Genes Work by Kat Arney

The Violinist's Thumb and Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean

Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind by Mark Pagel

First Contact: Scientific Breakthroughs in the Hunt for Life Beyond Earth by Marc Kaufman


The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization by Geerat Vermeij


Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human by Richard Wrangham

Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne


Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul by Kenneth R. Miller

Science, Evolution, and Creationism by the U. S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Institute of Medicine

What Bugged the Dinosaurs? Insects, Disease, and Death in the Cretaceous by George Poinar, Jr., and Roberta Poinar


Cell of Cells: The Global Race to Capture and Control the Stem Cell by Cynthia Fox

Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend by Barbara Oakley

Evolving God: A Provocative View on the Origins of Religion by Barbara J. King

Riddled With Life: Friendly Worms, Ladybug Sex, and the Parasites that Make Us Who We Are by Marlene Zuk


After Dolly: The Uses and Misuses of Human Cloning by Ian Wilmut and Roger Highfield

The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth by E. O. Wilson

Extinction: How Life on Earth Nearly Ended 250 Million Years Ago by Douglas H. Erwin

Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth's Ancient Atmosphere by Peter Ward


Life As We Do Not Know It: The NASA Search for (and Synthesis of) Alien Life by Peter Ward

Monkey Business: The True Story of the Scopes Trial by Marvin Olasky and John Perry

The Evolution-Creation Struggle by Michael Ruse

Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are by Frans de Waal

The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney

Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution by Donna L. Hart and Robert W. Sussman

The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey: Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans by Chris Beard


The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution by Richard Dawkins

Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith*


Darwin and the Barnacle: Story of One Tiny Creature and History's Most Spectacular Scientific Breakthrough by Rebecca Stott

DNA: The Secret of Life by James D. Watson*

The Life and Death of Planet Earth: How the New Science of Astrobiology Charts the Ultimate Fate of Our World by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee

The Path: A One-Mile Walk Through the Universe by Chet Raymo


The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature by Steven Pinker

A Matter of Degrees: What Temperature Reveals About the Past and Future of Our Species, Planet, and Universe by Gino Segre

The Next Fifty Years: Science in the First Half of the Twenty-First Century edited by John Brockman

Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future by Gregory Stock


The Impact of the Gene: From Mendel's Peas to Designer Babies by Colin Tudge


Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley

Human Natures: Genes, Cultures, and the Human Prospect by Paul R. Ehrlich

Nature Out of Place: Biological Invasions in the Global Age by Jason van Driesche and Roy van Driesche

Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee


Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species by Jeffrey H. Schwartz


Earth Story: The Shaping of Our World by Simon Lamb & David Sington


Are We Unique? A Scientist Explores the Unparalleled Intelligence of the Human Mind by James Trefil

Fanfare for Earth: The Origin of Our Planet and Life by Harry Y. McSween, Jr.