[Free eBook] The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe by Michael D. Gordin [Science History]

The Pseudoscience Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe by Michael D. Gordin, a professor of history at Princeton University, is a biographical history of the roots of pseudoscience and various fringe beliefs, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for January.

The book explores the career of the late Immanuel Velikovsky, a controversial Russian scholar who drew upon world mythological writings to argue in favour a shared history of ancient astronomical catastrophes and found brief popularity for his views among the general public during the mid-20th century, even as they were being debated and debunked by scientists, drawing upon previously unpublished material from Velikovsky’s personal archives to give a behind-the-scenes look at the man and also exploring the histories and effects of other pseudoscientific fringe beliefs along the way.

Offered worldwide through January (usually also available until early morning on Feb 1st), available directly from the university’s website.

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Free for a limited time through January directly @ the university’s special promo page (ADE-DRM ePub available worldwide in return for newsletter signup with your valid email address), and you can also read more about the book on its regular catalogue page.

Description
Properly analyzed, the collective mythological and religious writings of humanity reveal that around 1500 BC, a comet swept perilously close to Earth, triggering widespread natural disasters and threatening the destruction of all life before settling into solar orbit as Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor.

Sound implausible? Well, from 1950 until the late 1970s, a huge number of people begged to differ, as they devoured Immanuel Velikovsky’s major best-seller, Worlds in Collision, insisting that perhaps this polymathic thinker held the key to a new science and a new history. Scientists, on the other hand, assaulted Velikovsky’s book, his followers, and his press mercilessly from the get-go. In The Pseudoscience Wars, Michael D. Gordin resurrects the largely forgotten figure of Velikovsky and uses his strange career and surprisingly influential writings to explore the changing definitions of the line that separates legitimate scientific inquiry from what is deemed bunk, and to show how vital this question remains to us today. Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material from Velikovsky’s personal archives, Gordin presents a behind-the-scenes history of the writer’s career, from his initial burst of success through his growing influence on the counterculture, heated public battles with such luminaries as Carl Sagan, and eventual eclipse. Along the way, he offers fascinating glimpses into the histories and effects of other fringe doctrines, including creationism, Lysenkoism, parapsychology, and more—all of which have surprising connections to Velikovsky’s theories.

Science today is hardly universally secure, and scientists seem themselves beset by critics, denialists, and those they label “pseudoscientists”—as seen all too clearly in battles over evolution and climate change. The Pseudoscience Wars simultaneously reveals the surprising Cold War roots of our contemporary dilemma and points readers to a different approach to drawing the line between knowledge and nonsense.

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[Free eBook] Death from the Sea by Herbert Molloy Mason [1900s Natural Disaster History]

Death from the Sea by the late Texas-resident American author Herbert Molloy Mason, Jr., a military history writer, is a natural disaster event case history, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1972 by The Dial Press (since acquired by Penguin Random House).

The book is done in a narrative history style, giving an account of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane in Texas, considered the deadliest natural disaster in US history, covering the background and rise to prominence of the town and its colourful inhabitants, in parallel to the building up of the weather conditions which would devastate them amidst ignored warnings, as well as the aftermath of the hurricane’s damaging effects which reached as far as Canada and the town’s gradual recovery.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook] One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery by Karyn L. Freedman [Award-Winning Philosophical Memoir]

One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery by Canadian author Karyn L. Freedman, an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph, is an exploratory trauma recovery and treatment memoir, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for November and was a recipient of the 2015 British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, shortlisted for the 2015 Alberta Book of the Year, and was also featured in the Globe and Mail‘s Top 100 Books of 2014 as well as the CBC Reads 2017 Longlist.

The memoir is a globe-trotting philosophical meditation about the immediate and long-term effects of the author’s own experience with the trauma and recovery from being raped in 1990 and her travels in search of justice and treatment over the decades since then, as well as the broader effects of sexual violence and gender inequality in society throughout history, drawing upon insights from recent neuroscientific and psychological research to examine how recovery becomes possible for survivors.

Offered worldwide through November, available directly from the university’s website.

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[Free eBook] Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Food by Jennifer A. Jordan [Botanical & Agricultural Sociocultural History]

Edible Memory: The Lure of Heirloom Tomatoes and Other Forgotten Food by Jennifer A. Jordan, a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, is a botanical and agricultural-focused social history, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.

This is their featured Free Book of the Month for October.

The book is an accessibly-written combined social, scientific, and food industry history which spotlights selected fruits and vegetables both common and uncommon, as they go from global luxuries to local staples or vice versa over the centuries—gaining or losing popularity with changing tastes, becoming hybridized for convenient selling qualities for the mass market or preserved in “heirloom” forms for upscale consumption and otherwise evolving in physical form and cultural meaning—interwoven with the author’s observations of the associations the foods evoke in people from the hobby gardeners and professional farmers who grow them, to the end consumer who eats them, to the national identities they may be tied to (as in the case of the US and apple pie).

Offered worldwide through October, available directly from the university’s website.

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[Free eBook] A Doctor’s Story: Life in the early years of the NHS by Ann Dally [1950s-1970s Medical History Memoir]

A Doctor’s Story: Life in the early years of the NHS by the late English author Ann Dally, a psychiatrist turned medical historian, is her autobiographical medical professional memoir cum history of the NHS, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1990 by Macmillan.

This career-retrospective memoir is also a part-history of the early National Health Service in Britain, recounting the experiences of the author in the 1950s-1970s as she trained to become a doctor and also juggled raising a family at a time when it was considered nearly impossible for a woman to have both, as well as her observations on the treatment of her psychiatric patients—many of whom were heroin addicts whom she felt were poorly served by detrimental NHS policies which she fought to have changed.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBook REPEAT] Cicely: The Story of a Doctor by Ann Dally [Pioneering Medical Biography]

Cicely: The Story of a Doctor by the late English author Ann Dally, a psychiatrist turned medical historian, is a vintage biography of a pioneering historical medical figure, free again for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.

This was originally published in 1968 by Victor Gollancz.

This biography of mid-20th century Jamaican physician Cicely Williams, who discovered and researched the malnutrition condition kwashiorkor and was appointed the first director of Mother and Child Health at the World Health Organization, covers her life up until 1945 and her journeys throughout the world as an open-minded colonial doctor who paid attention to local traditional knowledge, and took care of others while imprisoned in an internment camp in Malaya during World War II, among other experiences in an apparently remarkable life.

Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.

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[Free eBooks] Hundreds of freebies from Simon & Schuster [All Genres]

As a special promotion in conjunction with $0.99 and $1.99 sales on a large chunk of their catalogue, Simon & Schuster (one of the “Big 6” publishers) are giving away literally over a thousand titles from their various imprints.

All genres are represented, both fiction and non, and there are a lot of good titles free and on sale, especially if you happen to like history, politics/current affairs, cookbooks, mystery/thrillers, literary fiction, paranormal romance, and children’s picture books. Also, there are some Spanish-language titles (both translated and original), if you’re interested.

In addition to all the freebies, many worthwhile books are discounted to dirt-cheap, such as British science historian James Burke‘s excellent and highly recommended Connections TV series tie-ins The Knowledge Web and American Connections; children’s novels by award-winning authors Susan Cooper, E. L. Konigsburg, and Zilpha Keatley Snyder; hot Scandinavian mystery/thriller authors Mons Kallentoft, Jo Nesbø, Camilla Grebe & Åsa Träff, and Anders de la Motte, the popular Everything series of DIY books, TV tie-ins for Star Trek, Alias, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, CSI, and much more.

The freebies and deals seem to be valid in the US only, and I’m guessing they’ll only last until Monday, which is when Simon & Schuster usually seems to rotate their sale offerings.

I’m including links for all the imprints I’ve spotted freebies in for Kobo, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, since those stores allow searching by publisher and sorting by price, but they should also be available via Google Play and iTunes if you prefer.

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