cover image Darwin's Audubon: Science and the Liberal Imagination

Darwin's Audubon: Science and the Liberal Imagination

Gerald Weissmann, G. Weissmann. Basic Books, $28.95 (310pp) ISBN 978-0-306-45981-8

As director of the Division of Rheumatology at New York University-Bellevue Hospital, Weissmann (Democracy and DNA) infuses technical medical information throughout the 24 essays in his latest eclectic volume. Most were originally published in specialty magazines such as Hospital Practice and MD. All touch in some manner on ways of bridging the gap between the sciences and the humanities. Weissmann ranges broadly, ruminating on appropriate treatment for homeless mentally ill individuals, on the relationship between Darwin and Audubon, about the three Nobel prizes garnered by the family of Marie Curie (discoverer of radium), about the way Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas spent the war years in occupied France in hiding from the Nazis while protected by a French fascist. He attacks feminist critiques of science and summarizes the history of Lyme disease. Weissmann's prose is at times choppy and his references to poetry and history occasionally forced; nonetheless, these essays demonstrate the working of a considerable intellect. Photos. (Nov.)