This really is an excellent review of three books in the field of evo-devo—
The Plausibility of Life:Resolving Darwin's Dilemma (amzn/b&n/abe/pwll)—all highly recommended by me and the NY Times. The nice thing about this review, too, is that it gives a short summary of the field and its growing importance.
Now whip it... into shape!
Shape it up! Get straight!
Go forward! Move ahead!
Try to detect it! It's not too late!
To whip it! Whip it good!
all highly recommended by me and the NY Times
Quibble: NY Review of Books != NY Times Book Review.
Jason, he's saying, I think, that in addition to the NYRoB, the Times book review also reviewed the books favorably. But maybe not. IAC, the NYRoB piece is very well done. I subscribe to the dead tree edition, and this review is surprisingly typical.
Glad you agree, PZ. I, too, thought the article was great and blogged about it, but not being a scientist - rather, the very interested layperson - I wasn't entirely sure about the science. It was a pleasure to read that review and it made me want to read the books, no matter how abstruse they might get to a non-scientist.
I'm a longtime NY Review subscriber- only magazine I really couldn't live without- and they've always done a commendable job of keeping the general educated audience abreast of what's happening in science. They're particularly good on biology and especially evolution, where for example they have in the past given space to thoughtful essays by distinguished scientists with quite disparate points of view eg. Maynard Smith and Gould. I can't think of anyplace else where well-educated but not scientifically trained readers could get comparable insights into scientific thinking and genuine scientific controversies.
Along with the New Yorker, the NYRB is one of the few American leftist rags it's easy to obtain in the UK, and it's a blessing. A few places in London sell Harpers and Mother Jones, but not many. Avowedly liberal magazines in the UK tend to be awful, with the notable exception of the London Review of Books, and even with the LRB the politics articles tend to be much weaker and more predictable than the literary ones. I would imagine the same factor, whatever it is, is behind the shortage of decent political blogs on this side of the pond.