Entries by John McCaskey

Review of Sacks’ The River of Consciousness

Published in the Wall Street Journal, Oct. 20, 2017 2:06 p.m. ET Oliver Sacks Travels Down “The River of Consciousness” Madagascar’s star orchid intrigued Darwin. He inferred a moth must exist that could reach its nectar. After roiling the world by publishing his book “On the Origin of Species,” Charles Darwin retreated to his estate’s […]

Review of Dolnick’s The Seeds of Life

Published in the Wall Street Journal, Jun. 2, 2017 4:38 p.m. ET The Birth of Wisdom It wasn’t until recently—the late 1800s—that we knew for sure where babies come from. Laura J. Snyder reviews ‘The Seeds of Life’ by Edward Dolnick. On an autumn night in 1677, a Dutch civil servant named Antoni van Leeuwenhoek […]

Review of Charman’s The Zoo

Published in the Wall Street Journal, Apr. 14, 2017 5:10 p.m. ET A Zoo in Dickensian London Society ladies and men of science came to visit Tommy the 2-foot tall chimpanzee. All were awed by his resemblance to a human child. Laura J. Snyder reviews “The Zoo” by Isobel Charman. A curious sight greeted passengers […]

Review of Sobel’s The Glass Universe

Published in the Wall Street Journal, Dec. 6, 2016 7:04 p.m. ET The Lady Computers Williamina Fleming, who had originally been hired by the head of the Harvard Observatory as a maid, devised a classification system of 10,000 stars. Laura J. Snyder reviews “The Glass Universe” by Dava Sobel. When astronomer John Herschel captured the […]