Health & Fitness
Columbia, and Arrieta,
a researcher focused on
microbiota, say that
early exposure to certain organisms can fortify children’s immune
systems, and that our
culture’s focus on
cleanliness may damage kids’ health.
“Everybody’s throwing a bunch of gut
books at the wall,” says Andra Miller,
senior editor. “But nobody had turned
the gut conversation to kids yet.”
Who’ll dig it: Parents seeking science-backed pragmatism amid anxieties over
Food Freedom Forever
Melissa Hartwig, HMH, Oct.
The coauthor of It Starts with Food (2012)
and The Whole 30 (2015), which together
have sold more than 680,000 print
copies, according to
with a plan aimed at
helping readers maintain healthy lifestyles
after they’ve achieved
success with short-term diets.
Who’ll crave it: Readers looking
beyond beach-body readiness.
Bacon opened her
first juice shop in
Venice, Calif., in 2011,
and has since been
profiled in Vogue, Elle, and by Gwyneth
Paltrow’s Goop. Her book offers 75 recipes
and explains which ingredients address
what health issues.
Who’ll slurp it up: Many of Bacon’s
59,000 Instagram followers and other
congregants of the Church of Juice.
The Healthiest Diet on the Planet
John A. McDougall, HarperOne, Oct.
McDougall, a physician, argues against
contemporary diet wisdom: Americans
eat too little
starch, not too
much, he says,
and animal fat
and protein, dar-
lings of the paleo
movement, are at the root of many of our
Who’ll say mangia! Pasta lovers who
could do without the side of guilt. ■
Amid the glut of diet advice and exercise regimens, books that dive into the history of
health and medicine also draw readers. Stephen Johnson’s The Ghost Map (Riverhead,
2006), which examined a 19th-century cholera outbreak in London, has sold more than
146,000 copies in hardcover and trade paper, according to Nielsen BookScan. More
recently, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (Crown, 2010)—the
story of a woman whose cells were cultured, unbeknownst to her or her family, for
wide-ranging medical research—has sold more than 1. 5 million copies in hardcover
and trade paper, per BookScan.
Andy Ward, editor-in-chief at Random House, says that examining the sometimes
dark history of medicine, with its now-outmoded assumptions and hazardous tech-
niques, forces us to consider how our era’s approach to health will be regarded in the
future. “The question becomes, What are we doing today that we will look back on in
30 years and find similarly unsettling?”
Here are four titles that take readers back decades, even centuries, to deadly
epidemics, surgeries gone awry, and more.
Stephen H. Gehlbach , Rowman & Littlefield, Apr.
Tracing the histories of such diseases as smallpox, tuberculosis, and polio,
Gehbach draws insights into the challenges of containing an illness—
challenges that persist today. In this updated edition of the book, first
published in 2004, Gehlbach, a physician who has served in the Epidemic
Intelligence Service with the CDC, adds updated information on HIV/AIDS,
as well as new chapters dealing with Ebola, the overuse of antibiotics in
hospitals, and the controversy over autism and vaccines. (See our review,
The Next Pandemic
Ali S. Khan, with William Patrick, PublicAffairs, May
Khan, former director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the
CDC, offers a firsthand account of medical disasters, including anthrax and swine flu
outbreaks, and proposes what might be done to prevent their recurrence. (See our review,
Daniel Kunitz, Harper Wave, July
Covering fitness practices in ancient Greece, Asian martial arts, the
founding of the first modern gym in Paris, and more, Kunitz tracks the
evolution of human exercise. His exploration leads him to argue that our
contemporary approach to fitness, centered as it is on the “big-box gym,”
is “detrimental to overall strength and flexibility,” according to Sarah
Murphy, the book’s editor. Historical perspectives like those in Lift, she
says, “bring a bird’s-eye view to an area that all too often zooms in on the
latest advice or promise found in lifestyle magazines.”
Luke Dittrich, Random House, Aug.
Dittrich, a journalist, tells the story of Henry Molaison (“H.M.”), a psychiatric
patient whose profound amnesia, which he developed after undergoing
brain surgery in 1953, has informed much of what we understand about
memory today. Dittrich, who first tackled the subject in a piece for Esquire,
comes to the story with a personal connection: his grandfather William
Beecher Scoville was the neurosurgeon who operated on Molaison.
Beth Skwarecki, Adams Media, Oct.
Skwarecki, a science writer with a background in bioinformatics, examines 50 epidemics
throughout history, from the Black Death, which broke out in Europe in the 14th century, to
Legionnaires’ disease, the largest outbreak of which occurred in Spain in 2001.
Daniel Lefferts is a writer living in New York.