Advance Copy: Backstories on books by NASW members

For this column, NASW book editor Lynne Lamberg asks NASW authors to tell how they came up with the idea for their book, developed a proposal, found an agent and publisher, funded and conducted research, and put the book together. She also asks what they wish they had known before they began working on their book, what they might do differently the next time, and what tips they can offer aspiring authors. She then edits the A part of that Q&A to produce the author reports you see here.

NASW members: Will your book be published soon? Visit www.nasw.org/advance-copy-submission-guidelines to submit your report.

Publication of NASW members' reports in Advance Copy does not constitute NASW's endorsement of their books. NASW welcomes your comments and hopes this column stimulates productive discussions.

Rectangular photo of David Baron’s office bookshelf showing works on eclipses, starts, astronomy, Thomas Edison and the U.S. Naval Observatory’s record of the July 29, 1878 eclipse. Photo credit: David Baron.

David Baron—American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World (Revised Edition)

On April 8, the moon’s shadow will sweep over North America from Mexico across Texas to New England into Canada. Some 32 million people will see a total eclipse. This “precious shared experience,” David Baron suggests in a new edition of American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World, may boost recognition of commonalities in our divided nation.

Rectangular photo of Liz Lee Heinecke’s office bookshelf showing works about and by women in science including Marie Curie and Rachel Carson. Photo credit: Liz Lee Heinecke.

Liz Lee Heinecke—She Can STEM: 50 Trailblazing Women in Science from Ancient History to Today

Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered pulsars, but the 1974 Nobel Prize for Physics went to her male academic advisor—not a unique story. In She Can STEM: 50 Trailblazing Women in Science from Ancient History to Today, Liz Lee Heinecke chronicles 50 women scientists’ successes and struggles. Each account includes a guide to help readers ages 7-12 conduct topic-related experiments of their own at home.

Nell Greenfieldboyce—Transient and Strange: Notes on the Science of Life

“Much of scientific inquiry, like poetry, involves play and metaphor and idiosyncratic obsessions and just plain fiddling around,” Nell Greenfieldboyce asserts. In Transient And Strange: Notes on the Science of Life, she employs these same tactics to explore the nature of tornados, meteorites, black holes, lives of fleas and spiders, doodling, quality of silence, making of toast, and making of babies.

Rectangular photo of Rebecca Boyle’s office bookshelves showing works on the moon, the Solar System, tides, cosmology, and astronomy. Photo credit: Rebecca Boyle.

Rebecca Boyle—Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are

Moon dust smells like wet ashes and sticks to everything, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin found on their 1969 moon landing. They slept with helmets on to avoid breathing it in. In Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are, Rebecca Boyle covers moon science from the moon’s formation up to recent attempts to monetize it as a graveyard.

Rectangular photo of Elizabeth Nesbitt’s desk showing scientific papers on fossils. Her research comes from primary sources, such as Geobios, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Current Biology, and Papers in Paleontology. Photo credit: Elizabeth Nesbitt

Elizabeth A. Nesbitt and David B. Williams—Spirit Whales & Sloth Tales: Fossils of Washington State

Mammoths twice the size of today’s biggest elephants, an Ice Age ground sloth 9 ft tall, and voracious moon snails come to life in Spirit Whales & Sloth Tales: Fossils of Washington State. Paleontologist Elizabeth Nesbitt and NASW member David Williams discuss 24 fossils dating from 12,000 years to 520 million years ago including Washington’s most unusual fossil, a 16 million-year-old rhinoceros.

Rectangular photo of Erica Gies’ office bookshelf showing works on water and water-related topics including ecology, environmental legislation, rain, marshes, and rivers. Photo credit: Erica Gies.

Erica Gies—Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge

As climate change ramps up, so do flooding and droughts. Humans have altered 75% of the world’s land area, exacerbating these problems. In Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge, Erica Gies tracks global efforts that use satellite data, systems thinking, and other tactics to absorb floods, save and recapture water, stanch plant and animal loss, and help restore our environment.

Rectangular photo of Gabi Serrato Marks’ office bookshelf showing works on disability history and visibility, as well as science writing and science communication. Photo credit: Gabi Serrato Marks.

Skylar Bayer and Gabi Serrato Marks—Uncharted: How Scientists Navigate Their Own Health, Research, and Experiences of Bias

Disabled researchers remain highly underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, Skylar Bayer and Gabi Serrato Marks note. Despite ADA requirements, many schools and worksites offer few accommodations. In Uncharted: How Scientists Navigate Their Own Health, Research, and Experiences of Bias, Bayer, Marks and 30 other scientists recount struggles, setbacks, and successes.

George Musser—Putting Ourselves Back in the Equation: Why Physicists are Studying Human Consciousness and AI to Unravel the Mysteries of the Universe

“We can’t understand the measurable, material universe beyond our minds without first understanding our minds,” George Musser asserts. He describes physicists’ efforts to achieve that goal by building and testing concrete models that illuminate the mind in Putting Ourselves Back in the Equation: Why Physicists are Studying Human Consciousness and AI to Unravel the Mysteries of the Universe.

Rectangular photo of Christopher Reddy’s office bookshelf showing books on leadership and leaders, including U.S. Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Dwight Eisenhower, and Steve Jobs. Photo credit: Christopher Reddy

Christopher Reddy—Science Communication in a Crisis: An Insider’s Guide

Science is like a jigsaw puzzle, environmental chemist Christopher Reddy asserts. In talking with the media and public in times of crisis, scientists may focus on small pieces while audiences seek a big picture, often while events still are evolving. In Science Communication in a Crisis: An Insider’s Guide, Reddy offers lessons derived from how he and other scientists conveyed info on eco-crises.