Thought Contagion: How Beliefs Spread Through Society

Aaron Lynch

A basic explanation of the hip new science of memetics, the study of the spread of ideas and beliefs called “memes.” Combining elements of epidemiology, genetics and conventional sociology, Thought Contagion is more of trial balloon to expose memetics to a wider public than a ground-breaking scientific work. SS

Publisher: Basic
Hardback: 192 pages

And the Blood Cried Out: A Prosecutor’s Spellbinding Account of the Power of DNA

Harlan Levy

Your D(eoxyribo) N(ucleic) A(cid) could hang you. It’s in your hair, you saliva, your sperm, your skin, your sweat, your blood. “Combination of thrilling true crime stories and fascinating, fully understandable science,” as the author, a former homicide prosecutor and “DNA expert,” “describes the evolution of DNA and places in context the controversy surrounding its acceptance through dramatic re-creations of 14 of the decade’s most suspenseful criminal cases.” Details the forensic results of the Simpson DNA evidence, explaining what it really showed. Shows how the World Trade Center bomber’s saliva (on a stamp) nailed him. And how even modern DNA tests on old evidence can set an innocent jailbird free. GR

Publisher: Basic
Hardback: 223 pages

Crime and Punishment in American History

Lawrence M. Friedman

Crime grows and mutates in an ongoing race with our country’s ability to name it and tame it. “In a panoramic history of our criminal system from colonial times to today, one of our foremost legal thinkers shows how America fashioned a system of crime and punishment in its own image.” How crimes change: “About three and a half centuries ago, there was a stir in the colony of New Haven, Connecticut. A sow had given birth to a ‘monstrous’ piglet. In the minds of the colonists, this was no accident… Specifically, it had to be a sign of sin, a sign of a revolting, deadly crime: carnal intercourse with the mother pig… The finger of suspicion pointed to Thomas Hogg (unfortunate name)… The magistrates put him to the test: They took him to a pigsty, and forced him to scratch at two sows in the enclosure. One sow, the mother of the monster-piglet, reacted with a show of ‘lust’ when Hogg touched her… Hogg’s guilt was crystal clear.” GR

Publisher: Basic
Paperback: 592 pages

Satan’s Silence: Ritual Abuse and the Making of a Modern American Witch-Hunt

Debbie Nathan and Michael Snedecker

Answers the question “How could little children invent such horrible stories?” by breaking down the inherent flaws in medical, criminological and interviewing theories used to construct proof of ritual-abuse accusations. Reexamining some individual cases points to a pattern of abuse, not from the accused but from child-protection agencies. The abuse of children is there, but it is in the bullying interview tactics and humiliating medical examinations used to validate the fears of parents that Satanic ritual abuse exists. Homophobic doctors, hysterical career-minded social workers and “cult cops” provide a framework for a “mass sociogenic illness” in the 1980s. Why believe the children? Because the adults have gone nuts? Includes a doctor sweetly referring to incest as a family romance, a social worker who coos “we can have a good time with the dolls,” and a sheriff’s warning of Satanically poisoned watermelons. JEN

Publisher: Basic
Paperback: 317 pages

Unchained Memories

Lenore Terr, M.D.

Written in short story style, as a collection of childhood memories, traumatic episodes and remembrances, these stories illustrate how we forget childhood trauma, and how and why these memories return. They also illustrate exactly what goes wrong with memory and what parts of memory sometimes turn false. (One story is about an entirely false remembrance.) Well documented, each short story is true, taken mostly from personal interviews by the author. A balanced and valuable work useful for judges, court systems, the psychiatric profession, and persons who have experienced lost and found memories themselves. CF

Publisher: Basic
Paperback: 282 pages

Schizophrenia and Manic-Depressive Disorder: The Biological Roots of Mental Illness as Revealed by the Landmark Study of Identical Twins

E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. et al

“Are schizophrenia and manic-depressive disorder biological afflictions or the results of a traumatic upbringing? Are some people genetically destined to become schizophrenic? This book, the result of a landmark study, provides compelling evidence that both schizophrenia and manic-depressive disorder are biologically based diseases of the brain, unrelated to psychological influences.”

Publisher: Basic
Paperback: 304 pages

Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940

George Chauncy

Throw out all your rainbows, girls, gay lib didn’t start when the friends of Dorothy busted their brassieres at the Stonewall riot in 1969. It’s all in this prize-winning and brilliantly researched account of the missing decades in the gay life of Manhattan. Here’s the dish: Gay boys were called pansies, inverts, fairies or queers, and the girlier girls were accepted by society as flamboyant curiosities. An 1870 guide book illustration shows a fairy as just another denizen of the Bowery, along with beggars, cops and shoeshine boys. In some queer circles, a red tie and shocking blonde hair was the fad. At one of the discreet “gay set” bars in Greenwich Village, dropping a hairpin on the table told everything about you. In Harlem, drag balls were reviewed in the straight press and were sometimes held at the best hotels. See how gay men and lesbians lived, loved, played and prospered, until the police cracked down on the pansy bars in the ‘30s and rigid morality laws drove flaming faggots into the closet until the ‘60s. That’s when Judy died and all the homos came out again to show the world where the bluebirds fly. GR

Publisher: Basic
Paperback: 496 pages

Science in the Bedroom: A History of Sex Research

Vern Bullough

How science conquered sin, from a noted sexology “sexpert.” “The story of how sex research developed, from its early roots in religious doctrine and folklore to its current status as an emerging science.” Reveals how both the personalities of influential investigators and changing public attitudes have shaped the substance and direction of sex research. Chapters on such issues as theory, gender, changing attitudes and Freud and his gang of mind benders.

Publisher: Basic
Paperback: 384 pages

An Eye for an Eye: Untold Story of Jewish Revenge Against Germans in 1945

John Sack

Eye for an Eye recounts with brutal candor the savage treatment meted out to ethnic Germans by Jewish vengeance squads recruited from Nazi concentration-camp survivors by Stalin’s terror regime. The author of the book, himself a conservative Jew, tracked down the alleged perpetrators of these appalling crimes to locations in Poland, Israel and the United States during the course of his research. Appalled by the catalog of horrors he uncovers, the author seeks philosophical answers to perennial questions such as, “Can any good come out of evil?”
The book is replete with lurid descriptions of the agonies and torments inflicted upon Germans innocent of any wrongdoing: “The girls in Gleiwitz used fire. They held down the German boy, put out their cigarettes on him and, using gasoline, set his curly black hair on fire. In time, three-fourths of the Germans at Shlomo’s camp were dead, and Shlomo announced, ‘What the Germans couldn’t do in five years at Auschwitz, I’ve done in five months at Schwientochlowitz.’” Eye for an Eye generated a storm of controversy both before and after its release. Though the subject has been dealt with at length in previous publications, such as German Documents on the Expulsion and Silesian Inferno, this book is unique in that it provides the reader with the identities of alleged perpetrators. Indeed, some of the ghoulish characters described in this book make Spielberg’s Commander Amon Goth look like Winnie the Pooh. JB

Publisher: Basic
Paperback: 252 pages

I, Pierre Seel, Deported Homosexual: A Memoir of Nazi Terror

Pierre Seel

In 1941, a young gay boy in Nazi-occupied Strasbourg, Alsace, only 17, is summoned by the Gestapo, tortured at Gestapo headquarters, and sent to the Schirmeck-Vorbruch work camp. A haircut in the shape of a swastika, bouts of dysentry, beatings, starvation. “Monstrous” medical treatments were part of his internment: “There were half a dozen of us, bare-chested and lined up against the wall. I have very clear memories of white walls, white shirts and the laughter of the orderlies. The orderlies enjoyed hurling their syringes at us like darts at a fair. During one injection session, my unfortunate neighbor blacked out and collapsed: the needle had struck his heart. We never saw him again.” The worst was witnessing the slaughter of his young lover, who was stripped naked in front of hundreds, then had a bucket placed over his head, then was torn apart screaming by guard dogs. The bucket was used to amplify his screams. Written with “poignant dignity and simplicity.” GR

Publisher: Basic
Paperback: 208 pages