Stebbins has set out to write a polemical overview of the most controversial topics in modern science and, to a large extent, he succeeds. Stebbins, the Director of Biology Policy for the Federation of American Scientists, writes in a brash style more often associated with political diatribes than serious science, but his impressive background and knowledge of the issues at hand ground the book. Stebbins' topics range from bioterrorism to reproductive technologies, but his explanation of the stem cell controversy is particularly lucid and, given the complexity of the arguments involved, particularly welcome. As he points out, ""the devil is in the detail"" regarding this particular issue, and neither the public, the media, nor the politicians seem to have a firm grasp of the details. Though it gets off to a slow start, perseverance is recommended; unless you're a scientist yourself, you will undoubtedly learn something new from this sobering, illuminating work.