Blank Spots on the Map: The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World by Trevor Paglen (Dutton)
Area 51 is probably the most famous place that doesn’t exist on a map—at least not any map the U.S. government wants you to see. But it’s far from the only one. Paglen pulls back the curtain of secrecy on the military’s classified locations, from downtown Las Vegas to Kabul, Afghanistan, to the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species by Sean B. Carroll (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Darwin is the public face of evolutionary biology, but he doesn’t deserve all the credit. Carroll, a noted evolutionary biologist himself, gives a nod to the scores of underappreciated researchers who have filled in the gaps. In this exhaustive history, we learn the true extent of evolution’s influence on the way we think.
Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald (Pyr)
The advanced technology of the near future runs smack into a millennia-old culture in McDonald’s clever imaginings of life in 21st-century India. This anthology includes previously published short stories and an intricate new novella that explores the digital divide in surprising ways.
TV American Experience: The Polio Crusade
PBS, Monday, February 2, at 9 p.m. (EST) In the early 1950s there were more than 20,000 cases a year of poliomyelitis, a disease that causes paralysis or death. But on April 26, 1954, researchers began administering a vaccine in what would become the largest public health experiment in American history. The experiment paid off: By 1960 the number of annual cases had dropped to about 3,000, and by 1979 there were only about 10. This intimate PBS documentary chronicles the story of the polio vaccine’s success—a triumph of science over disease.