September 10, 2008
Books about the Kitzmiller "Intelligent Design" Trial
A series of personal vignettes from the Kitzmiller trial from the author of Trials of the Monkey (reviewed in RNCSE 2001 May Aug; 21 [3 4]: 38 9). Reviewing the book for Nature, Kevin Padian wrote, "The author of 40 Days and 40 Nights, Matthew Chapman, is a great-great-grandson of Charles Darwin; his presumed vested interest in the proceedings is tempered by his own history as a school dropout, a movie screenwriter and a Brit with a perpetually bemused view of colonial antics. Still, his odyssey is a fulfilling one, and he seems genuine enough to get himself invited into many homes where insights and passions run deep."
40 Days and 40 Nights was reviewed in Reports of NCSE 27 (3 4).
"With its title taken from a taunt aimed at a Dover student interested in learning about evolution," wrote NCSE deputy director Glenn Branch in BioScience, "Monkey Girl ... abounds in detail, critically assessed and cogently assembled. Particularly impressive are the thorough account of the events in Dover that precipitated the case and the detailed report of the preparations and maneuvers undertaken by the competing legal teams before the trial. When Humes arrives at the trial not until the 13th chapter of his book he continues to provide a fluent and accurate narrative, offering insightful comments on the effectiveness of the witnesses and attorneys."
The Devil in Dover
From the publisher: "Lauri Lebo, a small-town reporter who covered the trial, knows not just the legal case and science, but the people on all sides of the divisive battle. ... Lebo follows the story through its surprising twists, pondering whether this was a national war playing out in a small town or a small-town political battle playing out on the national stage. As a 'local girl' with a fundamentalist Christian father, Lebo provides an account that is both fascinating and moving, as she thoughtfully probes one of America's most divisive cultural conflicts and the responsibility journalists have when covering such a controversial story."
The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything
Andrea Barrett, writing in Evolution: Education and Outreach, praised Gordy Slack's The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything for introducing the debate "in such an approachable, conversational fashion that even the reader with no background in the area will be drawn into the drama," adding, "Slack has a good reporter's instinct for the telling detail and the vivid image, and he is able to synthesize and bring fresh perspective to a great deal of material, opening up the field for the less experienced reader. ... This book made me curious; it made me want to dig more deeply."