Buick, Thomas Lindsay | The Mystery of the Moa: New Zealand's Avian Giant.
First edition, first impression. An unusually attractive copy in the scarce dust jacket. The Mystery of the Moa is a scientific and historical narrative of the giant birds of New Zealand, covering their origin in prehistory, behavior and habitat, relationship to Maori culture, extinction, and the European search for fossils and living specimens. The plates include photographs of Moa skeletons and eggs (including the famous image of Sir Richard Owen next to the York specimen), New Zealand landscapes, and Maori and European individuals associated with the Moa.
Author Thomas Lindsay Buick (1865-1938) "was a man of considerable intellectual ability, substantially self-educated, who began writing New Zealand history by chance but soon developed a lasting commitment to the task. During a busy career as a journalist he managed to write 12 books and a small number of pamphlets, many of which he published at his own expense. Buick had a fluent prose style and a firm sense of narrative structure. He synthesised a wide range of printed sources and, particularly for his earlier works, sought out eyewitnesses and others closely associated with historical events. Through The Treaty of Waitangi and other books and speeches, he played an important role in establishing the treaty as New Zealand's foremost historical document, asserting that it was 'in very truth the foundation of our nationhood'. He belongs to the small group of New Zealand-born historians, including Robert McNab, James Cowan and Elsdon Best, writing in the first quarter of the twentieth century, who worked out of a sense of duty and with little or no financial reward to make New Zealand's past readily accessible to the general reader" (Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand online).
- Published under the auspices of The Board of Maori Ethnological Research. Illustrated. New Plymouth, NZ: Thomas Avery & Sons Limited, 1931. Octavo. Original dark blue-green pebble cloth boards, titles to spine and upper board gilt. With the dust jacket. Frontispiece and 26 plates. Corner of upper board bumped, cloth a little dulled, white mark to upper board, a little light spotting to edges of text block and occasionally to contents. A very good copy in the jacket that is generally fresh with a few spots, a faint ring to the upper board, and some small chips and short closed tears.
Gould, Stephen Jay | Ontogeny and Phylogeny
First edition, first printing of the author’s first book.
Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was one of the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century. His theory of “punctuated equilibria” radically revised the idea that evolution is a slow and constant accumulation of changes, pointing out that instead it often occurs in rapid bursts of speciation followed by periods of stasis. He was a prominent defender of the teaching of evolution in schools, and a leading critic of the field of sociobiology, which he saw as providing a pseudoscientific basis for discrimination. But he was best known as a popular science writer, penning numerous books and a series of 300 essays for a general audience.
Gould's first book, Ontogeny and Phylogeny, was written at the suggestion of Ernst Mayr as a way to become comfortable with long-form writing before tackling The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, his magnum opus on punctuated equilibria. It explores the relationship between embryonic development and evolution, and includes analyses of disproven theories, such as Haeckel’s hypotheses that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny. Of all Gould’s books, Ontogeny and Phylogeny is “the one with the most impact... to say that this work is a hallmark in this area of evolutionary theory would be an understatement. it proved the catalyst for much of the future work in the field, and to a large degree was the inspiration for the modern field of ‘evolutionary developmental biology’. Gould’s hope was to show that the relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny is fundamental to evolution, and at its heart is a simple premise—that variations in the timing and rate of development provide the raw material upon which natural selection can operate” (MacNamara, “Heterochrony, Disparity and Macroevolution”, Paleobiology 31(2), 2005, pp. 17-26).
Cambridge, MA & London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1977.
Octavo. Original brown cloth, titles to spine in silver, green endpapers. With the dust jacket. Frontispiece and illustrations throughout the text. Small, faint ink stamp to the half title. Cloth lightly rubbed at the extremities. An excellent copy in the jacket with some dampstain and cockling affecting the upper and lower panels.
Hansen, James | Storms of My Grandchildren
First edition, first printing of this important popular work by leading climate scientist James Hansen (1941 - ).
Hansen, currently director of the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions at Columbia University, has been studying climate change since the 1970s, making important contributions to our understanding of the atmosphere of Venus; how the global average temperature is measured and calculated; the effects of black carbon (such as that produced by forest fires and burning coal); and the design and analysis of climate models, showing that climate change has been occurring faster than most early models predicted.
Hansen first came to public prominence when he testified to Congress in 1988 on the causes and effects of climate change, and in recent years he has been an outspoken activist, critical of ineffectual mitigation policies, and being arrested three times during 2011 demonstrations against the Keystone Pipeline. Storms of My Grandchildren explains the science of anthropogenic climate change, why it threatens humanity’s future, discusses the political issues that kept it from being adequately addressed, and proposes a way foreword for the economy and environment.
...The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. Illustrations by Makiko Sato. New York: Bloomsbury, 2009.
Octavo. Original black boards, titles to spine in silver. With the dust jacket. Illustrations and charts within the text. Spine a little rolled. An excellent, fresh copy in the bright jacket.
Jeans, James | The Mysterious Universe
- First edition, first impression of this elegant Art Deco style volume on cosmology, uncommon in the dust jacket. Author James Jeans (1877-1946) was a respected Cambridge mathematician and astronomer, best known for his work on rotating, gravitational bodies, " a problem of fundamental importance that had already been tackled by some of the leading mathematicians" (ODNB), and the motions, structures, and life-cycles of stars and stellar clusters. "In 1928 Jeans's academic work Astronomy and Cosmogony came to the attention of S. C. Roberts, the secretary of Cambridge University Press, who appreciated the general interest of its subject matter and the attraction of Jeans's writing style. He persuaded Jeans to write a popular account, The Universe Around Us, which was published by the press in 1929" (ODNB). Jeans's popularity as a writer "depended partly on his topic—new, thought provoking views of the universe—and partly on his style, which combined an authoritative knowledge of the subject with a vivid turn of phrase" (ODNB). The present volume was the second of Jeans's works for a general readership, and is an expanded version of the Rede Lecture he gave at Cambridge in 1930. It includes chapters on the origin of our solar system, "the new world of modern physics", the relationship between matter and energy, relativity theory, and the structure of the universe, and is illustrated throughout by stylish Art Deco woodcuts. The book proved to be so popular that Jeans's conclusion, ‘the Great Architect of the Universe now begins to appear as a pure mathematician’, has often been quoted (ODNB). An attractive copy of this under-appreciated book.
- New York & Cambridge: The Macmillan Company; Cambridge University Press, 1930. Octavo. Original black cloth, titles to spine and upper board in red, pictorial endpapers. With the dust jacket. Frontispiece and 6 woodcut plates, woodcut head-pieces, diagrams within the text. Cloth generally fresh, with just a little wear at the tips, contents faintly toned. An excellent copy in the very good, price-clipped jacket that is a little rubbed and toned with some nicks and short splits repaired with tape on the verso.
Pagé, Victor W. (ed.) | Henley's ABC of Gliding and Sailflying
First UK edition, originally published in the US in the previous year. An attractive copy and uncommon in the jacket.
The earliest successful glider was created by the British aeronautical designer Sir George Cayley and flown in 1853, initiating a wave of research into both unpowered and powered flight, and gliders had become relatively sophisticated by the time the Wright Brothers flew the first powered aircraft in 1903. It wasn’t until the 1920s, however, that gliding became an organised sport, making this an early popular guide for the beginner. Heavily illustrated, it contains information on the mechanics of flight; the different types of gliders, including powered gliders and water gliders; glider design and construction; and detailed chapters on key components such as brakes, control cables, fuselage, and wing frames.
London: Chapman & Hall, Ltd., 1931.
Duodecimo. Original blue cloth, title to spine gilt, publisher’s logo to upper bard in blind. With the dust jacket. Photographic frontispiece, illustrations throughout the text. Ownership inscription dated 1943 to the front free endpaper. Cloth very lightly rubbed at the extremities but otherwise bright and fresh, faint partial toning to the endpapers, faint spotting to the endpapers and edges of text block. An excellent copy in the rubbed and tanned jacket with some spots and marks and an over-price ticket to the spine panel.
Pauling, Linus | The Architecture of Molecules
First edition, first printing of this classic of science illustration.
Linus Pauling was one of the 20th century's most versatile scientists, making important contributions in chemistry, physics, and biology & physiology. He had a special interest in molecular structures, and his 1954 Nobel Prize in chemistry cited his "research into the nature of the chemical bond and its application to the elucidation of the structure of complex substances" (Nobel prize biography). The similarly versatile scientific illustrator Roger Hayward first worked with Pauling in 1946, when he illustrated Pauling's General Chemistry, the first of four books on which the two collaborated. But it was this volume, conceived as an introduction to molecular structure for older children, which was the most successful. It comprises 57 beautiful full-page colour illustrations, from the simple two-atom hydrogen molecule to complex structures such as polypeptide chains and hemoglobin, alongside Pauling's clear and concise explanations of the concepts underlying chemical bonding and how a molecule's structure affects its function. A very attractive copy.
San Francisco & London: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1964.
Quarto. Original grey cloth, titles to spine and upper board in orange and black, colour pictorial endpapers. With the dust jacket. Colour illustrations throughout. Some dark grey spotting of the cloth. A very good copy in the jacket that is lightly rubbed and creased at the extremities with some small splits and light spotting on the spine panel and lower panel.
Skloot, Rebecca | The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
First edition, first printing. A superb copy, signed and dated “3/29/10” by the author on the half title.
In 1951 Henrietta Lacks, a 31-year-old African American woman, died of ovarian cancer at Johns Hopkins. Unbeknownst to herself or her family, doctors used her biopsy to culture a line of cells that revolutionised medicine. Previously, no human cell culture had survived for more than a few days in the laboratory, seriously limiting their usefulness to research. Lacks’s cultures, however, survived for weeks, then months, and eventually decades, becoming essentially immortal. Dubbed “HeLa”, they are now mass produced and have been used to study almost every major medical question of the last seventy years. HeLa cells have been key to the development of vaccines, including the Salk polio vaccine; to identifying and treating AIDS and other emerging diseases; to our understanding of cell biology, genetics, and ageing; and in the development of medications for a range of illnesses.
But this scientific success has a darker side. There are serious concerns about how Lacks’s race affected her medical care and the treatment of her family by the scientific community. Neither Lacks nor any of her relatives provided informed consent for her cells to be retained and studied, much less for them to become a multi-million dollar industry over which they have no control. And her descendants fear the privacy implications of their genome being made public.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks approaches the HeLa cells from this perspective, and is based on nearly a decade of personal interviews and archival research. Skloot focuses in particular on Lacks’s daughter, Deborah, who spent years fighting for access to the full story of her mother’s cells and to ensuring that her life and legacy would be honoured. The book also situates Lacks within the wider context of racism in medicine, and how Black women’s bodies have frequently been co-opted for the benefit of white doctors and patients. Now considered a key work of popular science writing, it spent 75 weeks on the New York Times best seller list and received numerous awards, including the Wellcome Trust Book Prize and the National Academies Best Book of the Year Award.
New York: Crown Publishers, 2010.
Octavo. Original red boards, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. Illustrated title and chapter titles, 8 pages of illustrations from photographs. A fine copy in the jacket.