Jacqueline Baxter, Costica Bradatan, Luke Brunning, Megan Crawford and Sandra Leaton Gray...

A weekly look over the shoulders of our scholar-reviewers

March 19, 2015

Jacqueline Baxter, lecturer in social policy, The Open University, is reading Daniel Weinbren’s The Open University: A History (Manchester University Press, 2015). “A fascinating history of the politics and passion that led to creation of the first ‘University of the Air’. Weinbren’s inspiring account reveals how the university with its open access policy became the UK’s biggest provider of part-time higher education, changing the lives of thousands that would otherwise have been denied the opportunity.”


Book review: The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning, by Marcelo Gleiser

Costica Bradatan, associate professor of humanities, Texas Tech University, is reading Marcelo Gleiser’s The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning (Basic Books, 2014). “Gleiser is a theoretical physicist and astronomer with interests – and insights – in philosophy, religion, literature and all things human. In this wonderful, unique book he makes the case for a humanity subject to error and failure, a science that has inherent limits, and a universe that remains mysterious. This image of imperfection, however, is something humanists and scientists alike should celebrate – for it is what can make our lives meaningful.”


Book review: Alienation, by Rahel Jaeggi

Luke Brunning, doctoral candidate in philosophy, University of Oxford, is reading Rahel Jaeggi’s Alienation (Columbia University Press, 2014), translated by Frederick Neuhouser and Alan E. Smith. “In navigating dated essentialisms and anarchic postmodernism, Jaeggi mines the intellectual seam between Rousseau and Marx. She deftly resurrects the unfashionable concept of alienation in examining the veiled or distorted ways we relate to our identities and social world. Social critique will be reignited by the thought that people are not alienated from their ‘authentic selves’ but in their actions.”


Book review: Do No Harm, by Henry Marsh

Megan Crawford, professor of education and director of Plymouth University’s Institute of Education, is reading Henry Marsh’s Do No Harm (Orion, 2014). “I wasn’t sure I would enjoy this first-hand account of a neurosurgeon’s work, but I did – enormously. Marsh’s own character comes through, as do the varied lives of the people – patients and other doctors – he encounters in his daily working life. The limits of what man can do are laid out, as are the daily dilemmas surgeons face. It is frank, well written and deeply fascinating.”


Book review: Tod auf der Piste, by Nicola Forg

Sandra Leaton Gray, senior lecturer in education, UCL Institute of Education, is reading Nicola Förg’s Tod auf der Piste (Death on the Ski Slope) (Piper, 2014). “In the bookshop in Munich airport recently I discovered an entire literary genre that had previously escaped me, namely the Alpine thriller in which innocent tourists are bumped off on wellness holidays and corpses in ancient ski suits are wedged into hillsides. Crimes are largely solved over a stein of local beer while wearing traditional costume. How could I have missed this as a cultural phenomenon?”

Times Higher Education free 30-day trial

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Viewed

Most Commented

Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford will host a homeopathy conference next month

Charity says Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford is ‘naive’ to hire out its premises for event

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham