Why the Wheel Is Round: Muscles, Technology, and How We Make Things Move, Steven Vogel (University of Chicago Press) is rising on Amazon’s sales rankings, reaching a high position for a university press science book. It is currently ranked #228, up from #1,227.
The big jump coincides with a glowing review in The Wall Street Journal (subscription may be required) that says Vogel’s posthumous last book (he died in 2015), is “wonderful … in the literal sense of the word, full of wonders of nature, human invention, history and the sheer joy of looking at the world through the eyes of a keen—and amiable—scientific observer.”
Reviewer Stephen Budiansky, author of Code Warriors: NSA’s Codebreakers and the Secret Intelligence War Against the Soviet Union, continues, calling the work “intriguing, insightful and revealing … [a] marvelous and frequently entertaining exploration of the science of everyday things, illuminating why many of the things (both living and man-made) that we take for granted are the way they are.”
While none of the libraries we checked have yet ordered Vogel’s newest (it appears that there were no pre-pub reviews), interest in his other works mentioned in the article, The Life of a Leaf (University of Chicago Press, 2013) and Cats’ Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People (Norton, 2000; OverDrive Sample), is clear. As an example, in one library we checked, every copy of The Life of a Leaf is either currently checked out or on hold.