Natural: How Faith in Nature's Goodness Leads to Harmful Fads, Unjust Laws, and Flawed Science

Alan Levinovitz (Author)
Available

Product Details

Price
$28.95  $26.63
Publisher
Beacon Press
Publish Date
April 07, 2020
Pages
264
Dimensions
6.2 X 9.1 X 1.2 inches | 1.15 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9780807010877

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About the Author

Alan Levinovitz is associate professor of religious studies at James Madison University. In addition to academic journals, his writing has appeared in Wired, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, Aeon, Vox, Slate, and elsewhere. Connect with him on Twitter at @AlanLevinovitz.

Reviews

"A useful stepping-off point for a relevant topic."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A nuanced plea for a more informed relationship with the natural world . . . Evocative, convincing . . . Rich with interviews, anecdotes, and citations, Levinovitz's work makes a strong case for the wisdom of compromise and humility."
--Publishers Weekly

"Levinovitz's book is an important call for more nuance over simplicity, for compromise over dogmatism, and for embracing uncertainty over certainty."
--Science

"Words have power--just look at the scrambles by ideological groups to own words like 'right to life, ' 'pro-choice, ' or 'family values.' In Natural, Alan Levinovitz explores the power of that word and the often highly consequential ways in which it has been appreciated, appropriated, distorted, hyped, commodified, consecrated, and weaponized. This is important stuff, as evidenced every time someone discusses the supposed naturalness and thus supposed inevitability of some appalling human behavior."
--Robert M. Sapolsky, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor of Neurology and of Neurosurgery, Stanford University, and author of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst

"In Natural, Alan Levinovitz provides a bracing corrective to our often misplaced faith in all things derived from nature. Throughout its exploration of a fascinating range of issues, from vanilla to wolves, the book is both thoughtful and addictively readable."
--Deborah Blum, Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist and author of The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

"The idea of 'natural' is one of the most potent forces in our culture, shaping everything from cosmetics to public policy--sometimes for the better, more often not. What makes 'natural' so powerful is, in part, the fact that it is seldom laid bare and considered carefully. In Natural, Alan Levinovitz does that and more. With elegant prose, engaging stories, and nuanced judgments, he thoughtfully explores an idea that shapes our mental landscape."
--Dan Gardner, author of Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear

"In a fascinating tour across time, cultures, and ideas, Alan Levinovitz shows us how the worship of an abstract idea of nature can lead us astray in everything from our health to the laws we pass and even how we structure our governments and our way of life. This book is required reading for anyone who wants to face the scientific and moral challenges of the twenty-first century with a clear head."
--Tom Nichols, author of The Death of Expertise