Book Reviews

Book Reviews

The Arctic: A Drifting Future

This book is extremely timely because it discusses the Arctic region at its climate and geopolitical tipping points: Global warming, melting arctic ice, ice-free shipping lanes connecting the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, and changing alliances among Arctic and near-Arctic nations are converging and leading to increasing geopolitical competition for mineral and energy resources involving the US, Russia and China’s Polar Silk Road. Its future is yet to be charted.”
Michael H. Glantz, PhD
University of Colorado at Boulder, USA

“This monograph is a book about the Arctic incorporating factual material, filled with real events of the XXI century. Dr. Sergey Zhiltsov takes a close look at solutions to geopolitical, economic and social problems, ensuring national security in the region. An impressive rise of the Russian Arctic. Great job!”
Dr. Rustem Shagiev
Rector of Moscow Petroleum Institute

“The authors managed to fit the key challenges of the Arctic into one book. Hydrocarbon resources and extraction projects, the international legal regime and politics, shipping and militarization – all these topics allow for a new perspective into the Arctic region. Russian policy in the Arctic – its history and modernity – is of great interest.”
Dr. Oleg Grishin, PhD in Political Science
Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia

“This book reflects a balanced approach to the climatic matters of the Arctic. It thoroughly presents the problem of global warming and identifies both the risks and new opportunities for the development of the Arctic. The authors have not limited themselves to climate and ecology but have expanded the research field by linking these questions with issues of hydrocarbon extraction and shipping development.”
Dr. Kostyanoy Andrei, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Chief Researcher of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Ambient Combustion Ultrafine Particles and Health

“Drs. Brugge and Fuller have produced a timely collection of the critical research on the health effects of exposure to ultrafine particles. The book captures the collective wisdom and knowledge of some of the major contributors to this area of research and makes a compelling case for the cause-effect relationship between exposure to ultrafine particles, resulting from combustion of fossil fuels, and various adverse health outcomes. They have weaved together an outstanding body of science to tell an exciting story of scientific discovery.”
Kenneth Olden, Ph.D.
Former Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

“Finally, we have an authoritative book that serves as a compendium on ultrafine particle pollution in our air. Unlike particles of dust we see floating in a shaft of light or cigarette smoke, ultrafine particles are present in copious numbers and yet, are unseen. Consider every quiet breath we take is 200-300 cubic centimeters, so over the course of day we can easily inhale billons of UFPs. Ambient Combustion Ultrafine Particles and Health is pertinent not just to air pollution epidemiologists, but other professionals needing to know sources of UFP to inform design of appliances, ventilation systems and product formulations. Read this book for a new perspective on what we are all breathing.”
John D. Spengler, PhD
Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation
Department of Environmental Health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Contextualizing Teaching to Improve Learning: The Case of Science and Geography

“Laurinda Leite, Luís Dourado, Ana S. Afonso, and Sofia Morgado’s Contextualizing Teaching to Improve Learning: The Case of Science and Geography makes the case for people integrating science knowledge, skills, and abilities into their daily lives as citizens and individuals. In the Foreword, Derek Hodson points to large-scale hard problems being faced by humanity: “deforestation and increasing desertification, acid rain, pollution of waterways, ozone depletion, climate change, soil loss, loss of biodiversity, exhaustion of many natural resources, explosive population growth” and societal disparities “in terms of income, access to proper housing, food and water security, educational opportunity, health care, freedom, justice and safety” (2017, p. vii). Together, these issues are referred to as Socio-Scientific Issues (SSI), and the idea is that area issues in one cannot be solved without the other. This edited collection makes a solid case for contextualizing science learning in a way that learners can see the relevance in their own daily lives and can apply the learning to their citizenship behaviors…READ MORE
Shalin Hai-Jew for C2C Digital Magazine (Fall 2020/Winter 2021)
Instructional Designer/Researcher
Kansas State University

The Earth in Fragments: A Memoir by Michael Charles Tobias

“Michael Charles Tobias’ The Earth in Fragments: A Memoir, is a veritable history of the environmental movement, as told by one courageous, global ecologist. He is an authentic witness to the Anthropocene, which he has remarkably chronicled in many of the most provocative, telling and important initiatives and moments of this, or any generation. This book, an epic journey, is an ecological confessional in the rich vein of Jean-Paul Sartre and Aldo Leopold. Tobias has created a masterpiece of reflection that will seduce, illuminate, and challenge readers to seek at long last a true peace treaty with the planet. Many thanks to him for the massive amount of work he has accomplished; and for keeping so many candles of hope burning globally, lighting up dark times when it is all too easy to give up.”
Dr. Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Colorado, Boulder
Author of Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence; and, The Animals’ Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age

“What do you get when you combine restless spirit with an intellect that can only be described as breathtaking in scope and scale? That person reveals himself marvelously in these pages. Michael Tobias is a citizen of the planet. When he looks at things, it’s from the perspective of someone who can quote 17th century literature, as easily as the taxonomy of a rare plant species indigenous to the dark forest of Bialowieza; someone who has climbed many mountains, who has been an enduring hero for animal rights, who knows the nuances of the most esoteric crannies of science, who has found solace in the company of Jain ‘Ahimsa’, and has helped shape the doctrine of ‘Gross National Happiness’ in Bhutan. What comes through more than anything is Tobias’ deep well of compassion for our Earth; for all life. He has seen the impact of human overreach firsthand in every part of the planet. He is clearly pained to his core by the tide of existential challenges that more and more threaten life on Earth, and the collective human culture’s failure thus far to adequately address those unprecedented challenges. Though Tobias seems skeptical that humanity will find a way to correct course in time to avoid biospheric collapse, he does see some hope that the best empathic instincts of the theoretical individual will somehow prevail over the worse instincts of the collective human culture. Beautifully written, richly nuanced, I admire Michael Tobias the human being, and heartily recommend his memoir, The Earth in Fragments.”
Geoffrey Holland, Author, The Hydrogen Age

Caspian: Status, Challenges, and Prospects. An Analysis into the Legal Classification, Security and Environmental Concerns, Geopolitics and Energy Flow Impact of the Caspian Plateau

“A thoughtful, comprehensive, and balanced analysis of the complex interplay between geopolitics and geo-economics in Central Eurasia, and pivotal energy plateau – that of Caspian. We finally have an all-in reader that was otherwise chronically missing in international literature, which will hopefully reverse the trend of underreporting on such a prime world’s spot. Hence, this is a must-read book for those wondering about the future of one of the most dynamic and most promising regions of the world and what it could entail for both regional and external players.”
Andrey Kortunov
Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council

“Although of pivotal geopolitical and geo-economic importance, the Caspian energy plateau represents one of the most underreported subjects in the western literature. Interdisciplinary research on the topic is simply missing. This book by the three authors is unbiased, multidisciplinary, accurate, and timely. It is certainly a much-needed and long-awaited reader: a must read for scholars and practitioners, be it from Eurasia or beyond. Authors were able to tackle a challenging subject with a passion, knowledge and precision, and turn it into a compelling, comprehensive (yet concise) read which I highly recommend. It is truly a remarkable piece of work!”
Mr. Erzhan Kazykhanov
Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Washington, D.C., USA
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Kazakhstan

“ARTNeT secretariat is pleased to see how our initial invitation to Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic to present at the ARTNeT Seminar Series in 2015 evolved. The talk was initially published as a working paper for ARTNeT (AWP 149). Now Prof. Bajrektarevic, in collaboration with another two co-authors, offers a comprehensive study on a nexus of legal, security, and environmental issues all emanating from and linked to energy cooperation (or lack thereof) in the subregion. This volume’s value extends beyond the education of readers on the Caspian Basin’s legal status (e.g., is it a sea or a lake?). It is just as relevant for those who want a more in-depth understanding of an interplay of economic, security, and political interest of players in the region and outside. With the global institutions increasingly less capable of dealing with rising geopolitics and geo-economic tensions, more clarity – even if only about some aspects of those problematic issues – should be appreciated. This volume offers such clarity.”
Mia Mikic
Director, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)
ARTNeT coordinator

This book on the Caspian Region by Anis Bajrektarevic and his two co-authors, Tanvi Chauhan and Mak Bajrektarevic, is a comprehensive overview of Central Asian area. Its very title is comprehensive and fitting. This region’s pivotal place – practically in the heart of world’s largest continental landmass, that of Eurasia – is masterfully covered: Their instabilities, energy security, including pipelines, and economic interests are only some of the areas covered. It even addresses the important legal classification of the Caspian Basin, this world’s largest inland (landlocked) water plateau. For me, the book offers a wonderful learning experience, because we in the west (of my generation) learned little of the history and even geography of the various states and peoples making up the Soviet Union. Our interest and preoccupations focused primarily on geopolitical issues associated with the cold war between the Soviet Union and the West led by the United States.”
Honorable Donald J Johnston PC OC QC
Former Minister of the Canadian Government, Secretary General of the OECD (1996-2006)

“The book by Professor Bajrektarevic and his co-authors embodies a wide-ranging overview of the intertwined interests pursued by the young democracies of the Caspian basin, battling with inherited land and water disputes, and their interplay with regional and global powers. Apparently, supporting political independence of the formers and promoting their integration into the latter’s markets requires adequate analyses, timely outreach policies and consistent engagement. In this sense the publication serves as one of the scarce handbooks to understand diverse interests of stakeholders, dynamically changing security architecture of the region and emerging opportunities of cooperation around the Caspian Sea.”
Ambassador Galib Israfilov
Permanent Representative to the UN Vienna and to the OSCE
Embassy of Azerbaijan to Austria

“The Caspian basin and adjacent Central Asian region (all being OSCE member states, apart from Iran) have, since the early Middle ages, acted as a crossroads between different civilizations and geopolitical spaces. In an increasingly interconnected world, growing geopolitical competition, economic interdependence and the emergence of new global challenges, particularly those related to water, energy and the climate emergency, have highlighted the relevance of this region, making it of increasing interest to researchers and academics. This book presents a thorough analytical compendium of historical factors, political dynamics, economic trends, legal frameworks and geopolitical interests which underpin, but also affect, the stability and development of this complex, diverse and strategically significant region.”
Ambassador Lamberto Zanier
Secretary-General, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (2011-2017)
OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (2017-2020)

“It is my honor to reflect on this work on Caspian. Comprehensive and content rich, this book of professor Anis H. Bajrektarevic and his co-authors brings up comprehensively all the useful information on Caspian, with the geographical and historical background and cultural, economic as well as security aspects related to it. Authors’ novel and unbiased approach shall certainly help decision makers in their bettered understanding of the region that has centuries-long history of peace and cordial neighbourly relations. Long-needed and timely coming, I warmly recommend this reader to those who want to know, but more importantly to all those who want to understand, this pivotal region of the world.”
Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Former Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran to United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva & Vienna

Future Space Problems and Their Solutions

The book is very impressive. Joseph J. Smulsky considers grandiose projects: the optimal approach of the spacecraft to the Sun, the transformation of asteroids into satellites of the Earth, the creation of new planets like the Earth, etc. Without doubt that the space agencies will use the solutions and soft, which are discussed and presented in the book. That will raise the computation culture in the area under consideration.”
Michael P. Anisimov
Dr. Sc. in Physics and Mathematics, Leading Research Scientist, Head of the Nanoaerosol Laboratory, Siberian Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences Novosibirsk, Russia;
Research Professor, Clarkson University, NY, USA

“Today it is customary to speak of the Universe as a product of the Big Bang, which gave rise to the mystery of dark matter, expanding Universe and other tempting but badly comprehend realities. Joseph J. Smulsky gives the chance to feel harmony of the world, to see it in the image of reasonable classical simplicity peculiar to Isaak Newton’s mechanics. The elegance of simplicity and the complexity of the system appear in their mathematically comprehended unity.”
Vladislav V. Cheshev
Professor of the National Research Tomsk State University, Russia

“The problems of gravitational interaction of bodies are extremely diverse. The author considers the situations most significant for the space exploration and to the preservation of life conditions on the Earth-planet. The developed program Galactica can be of interest for professionals and students of the relevant specialties, as for as it allows to apply the received data for the analysis of various problems of celestial mechanics.”
Boris F. Boyarshinov
Doctor of Technical Sciences
Institute of Thermophysics, SB RAS
Novosibirsk, Russia

“Environment and human well-being are due to many factors, including the influence of movements of cosmic bodies both in the Solar system and beyond. The proposed monograph provides an excellent opportunity to predict the motion and rotation of planets, to optimize the flights of spaceships by means of a sufficiently simple to assimilate the program Galactica. A lot of worries are caused by possible collisions of comets and asteroids with the Earth. The examples of the most dangerous two asteroids show the capabilities of the Galactica program to calculate their evolution. These opportunities are wider than they are presented in the book. But even what is given impresses with its multifaceted tasks and their scale.”
Nicolay E. Shishkin
Doctor of Technical Sciences
Institute of Thermophysics, SB RAS
Novosibirsk, Russia

“In the newly published monograph “A New Astronomical Theory of the Ice Ages”, the author considers the problem as a whole within the time range of 20 million years. The material of the book is presented in the form that is easy to understand by broad masses of readers. The main results related to solution of differential equations of the orbital and rotational movements of the Earth are presented at the end of the book and in the Appendix…READ MORE
V.E. Zharov
Lomonosov Moscow State University
Faculty of Physics, Department of Celestial Mechanics, Astrometry and Gravimetry
Russia
Published in Earth’s Cryosphere Scientific Journal 2019

Click here for a Review in Russian by L.M. Green, Academician and Published in Earth and the Universe, 5/2019

Vitis: Biology and Species

“This book is a fascinating journey into the viticultural world and biodiversity, jealously guarded by man starting from the Mediterranean, in the oceans, islands and continents. The authors narrate the symbiosis of man and Vitis, the most generous genus, in which rural and scientific knowledge are admirably reflected and fruitful technological innovations ripen. The reading invites, with a look at the past, to appreciate the inestimable values preserved in the wine-growing landscapes and, at the same time, look with confidence to the future, inspired by the search for harmony between man and nature.”
Prof. Adamo Domenico Rombolà
Professor of Viticulture
University of Bologna
Italy

Seismology

This book offers a comprehensive physical theory of the earthquakes. The presentation level is rather mathematical, but thorough physical explanations are provided everywhere. It is an original monograph of Seismology, intended for the use of students, researchers and the public who wish to become familiar with the physics and mathematics of earthquakes. It provides the understanding of the earthquakes and specific knowledge we may have of them. The author is a scientific researcher in the Institute for Earth’s Physics at Magurele, with scientific publications on the theory of elasticity, focal mechanism of earthquakes, seismic waves and statistical analysis of seismic events.

Desertification: Past, Current and Future Trends

Desertification, which is generally regarded as a special case of land degradation, has been an issue of global concern for decades…It is clearly a highly topical issue and this contribution, edited by Victor Squires and Ali Ariapour, is both timeous and relevant to the debate. The book is comprised of 10 chapters, six of which are either authored or co-authored by the editors. Because of their background and experience, case studies from Iran and China have a stronger emphasis in this volume than is usually the case. However, the first chapter by John Oswald and Sarah Harris provides a very useful and balanced global overview of the desertification debate, which I would recommend as necessary reading for anyone wishing to undertake research in this field…READ MORE
M Timm Hoffman
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Cape Town
Cape Town
South Africa

Estimation Methods in the Romanian National Forest Inventory

“The increased recognition of the functions and ecosystem services provided by forests underlines the need for reliable and up-to-date information on forests. Producing quantitative, diversified, and trustable information on forest states and dynamics is the aim of the National Forest Inventories. Their methods are very specific, complex, and deserve a complete presentation as endeavoured in this book for the Romanian Forest Inventory.
This inventory, one of the last implemented in Europe, had to cope with the challenging context of the Carpathian forests. The development of the sampling design and estimation methods is built on the experience accumulated by older inventories and represents a fruitful collaboration coordinated by the European National Forest Inventory Network (ENFIN).
The detailed information on the sampling and the estimation methods provided by this book offers a deep insight on the statistical background of forest inventories and their implementation. It constitutes a solid basis for understanding the principles of forest survey. This book is addressed to a large audience: from inventory specialists to researchers who desire to gain insights on the methods used in forest surveys.”
Dr. Klemens Schadauer
Debuty Director of BFW
ENFIN Chair