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Edward Dolnick is the author of The Forger's Spell, Down the Great Unknown and Edgar Award-winning The Rescue Artist. A former chief science writer at the Boston Globe, he has written for The Atlantic Monthly, the New York Times Magazine, and many other publications. There are over 130,000 copies of his books in print. He lives with his wife near Washington, D.C.
In the spring of 1848, rumours began to spread that gold had been discovered in a remote spot in the Sacramento Valley. A year later, newspaper headlines declared 'Gold Fever!' as hundreds of thousands of men and women borrowed money, quit their jobs, and allowed themselves - for the first time ever - to imagine a future of ease and splendor. In THE RUSH, Edward Dolnick brilliantly recounts their treacherous westward journeys by wagon and on foot, and takes us to the frenzied gold fields and the rowdy cities that sprang from nothing to jam-packed chaos. With an enthralling cast of characters and scenes of unimaginable wealth and desperate ruin, THE RUSH is a fascinating - and rollicking - account of the greatest treasure hunt the world has ever seen.
Why cracking the code of human conception took centuries of wild theories, misogynist blunders, and ludicrous mistakes Throughout most of human history, babies were surprises. People knew the basics: men and women had sex, and sometimes babies followed. But beyond that the origins of life were a colossal mystery. The Seeds of Life is the remarkable and rollicking story of how a series of blundering geniuses and brilliant amateurs struggled for two centuries to discover where, exactly, babies come from. Taking a page from investigative thrillers, acclaimed science writer Edward Dolnick looks to these early scientists as if they were detectives hot on the trail of a bedeviling and urgent mystery. These strange searchers included an Italian surgeon using shark teeth to prove that female reproductive organs were not 'failed' male genitalia, and a Catholic priest who designed ingenious miniature pants to prove that frogs required semen to fertilize their eggs.A witty and rousing history of science, The Seeds of Life presents our greatest scientists struggling-against their perceptions, their religious beliefs, and their deep-seated prejudices-to uncover how and where we come from.
A riveting portrait of the Gold Rush, by the award-winning author of Down the Great Unknown and The Forger's Spell.In the spring of 1848, rumors began to spread that gold had been discovered in a remote spot in the Sacramento Valley. A year later, newspaper headlines declared "e;Gold Fever!"e; as hundreds of thousands of men and women borrowed money, quit their jobs, and allowed themselves- for the first time ever-to imagine a future of ease and splendor. In THE RUSH, Edward Dolnick brilliantly recounts their treacherous westward journeys by wagon and on foot, and takes us to the frenzied gold fields and the rowdy cities that sprang from nothing to jam-packed chaos. With an enthralling cast of characters and scenes of unimaginable wealth and desperate ruin, THE RUSH is a fascinating-and rollicking-account of the greatest treasure hunt the world has ever seen.
In the golden age of talk therapy, the 1950s and 1960s, psychotherapists saw no limit to what they could do. Believing they had already explained the origins of war, homosexuality, anti-Semitism, and a host of neurotic ailments, they set out to conquer one of mankind's oldest and fiercest foes, mental illness. In Madness on the Couch, veteran science writer Edward Dolnick tells the tragic story of that confrontation. It is a vivid, compelling tale that is told here for the first time. Dolnick focuses on three battles in an epic war: against schizophrenia, autism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Schizophrenia, the most dreaded mental illness, strikes its young victims without warning and torments them with hallucinations and mocking voices. Autism claims its victims even younger, at age one or two, and locks them away, cut off from the rest of us by invisible walls. Obsessive-compulsive disorder strikes at any age and entraps its hapless victims in endless rituals. Inspired by their hero, Freud, but bolder even than he, psychoanalysts set out to vanquish those enemies. Armed with only words and the best of intentions, they achieved the worst of outcomes. The symptoms of disease were symbols, these therapists believed, and diseases could be interpreted, like dreams. The ranting of a schizophrenic on a street corner, the retreat of an autistic child from human contact, the endless hand-washing of an obsessive-compulsive were not simply acts but messages. And the message psychoanalysts decoded and delivered to countless families was that parents themselves -- through their subtle hostility -- had driven their children mad. That verdict was not overturned for more than a generation. Clear, dramatic, and authoritative, Madness on the Couch uses the voices of therapists as well as those of patients and their loved ones to describe the controversial methods used to treat the mentally ill, and their heartbreaking consequences. We see the leading lights of psychotherapy at work, including tiny, grandmotherly Frieda Fromm-Reichmann; gawky Gregory Bateson, either a genius or a charlatan, depending on whom one asked; and birdlike R. D. Laing, a slender figure with dark, deep-set eyes and the charisma of a rock star. We meet, too, scientists and family members who fought the reigning dogma of the day. Bernard Rimland, for example, set out to refute the claim that autism was caused by refrigerator parents whose coldness had turned their children into zombies. Rimland's only credential in his battle with the experts was the fact that his son was autistic. A gripping tale of hubris, arrogant pride, and terrible heartbreak, Madness on the Couch combines the immediacy of superb joumalism with the depth of scrupulous history. It shows us convincingly that in attempting to cure mental illness through talk therapy, psychoanalysis did infinitely more harm than good.
The incredible story of the theft of a great painting and the brilliant detective who gets it back. On a frozen February morning in 1994, two men in a stolen car skidded to a halt in front of Norway?s national art museum. They raced across the snow and grabbed the ladder they had stashed away the night before. Two minutes later, they roared off. Wedged behind the driver sat one of the most valuable paintings in the world: Edvard Munch?s The Scream. The thieves had made sure the world was watching: the Winter Olympics, in Lillehammer, began that same morning. Baffled and humiliated, the Norwegian police called on the world?s greatest art detective, Charley Hill, a half-English, half-American undercover policeman. Edward Dolnick?s riveting tale takes us inside the art underworld, from ponytailed aristocrat Lord Bath, to 300-pound fence David Duddin. We meet Munch, too, a haunted misfit who spends nights feverishly trying to paint the visions in his head. Scotland Yard?s Charley Hill, an ex-soldier, a would-be priest, and a complicated mix of brilliance, foolhardiness and charm, is the book?s most compelling character. The hunt for The Scream will either cap his career or end in a fiasco that will dog him forever.