Books

Oxfords Handbook of Developmental Behavior NeuroscienceBlumberg, M. S., Freeman, J. H., & Robinson, S. R. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Developmental Behavioral Neuroscience. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. (Amazon.com)

"This is a truly extraordinary new volume on developmental behavioral neuroscience. To my knowledge it is a first. There are many books on developmental neuroscience but not with a strong emphasis on behavioral neuroscience.... This is a must read for all neuroscientists." — Richard F. Thompson, University of Southern California

"This volume is a must read, both for the basic neuroscientists who are curious about the emergence of their favorite psychological faculty, and for translational neuroscientists who are looking for clues about where and how brain and behavioral development can go right or go awry." — Howard C. Eichenbaum, Boston University 

"This ambitious and unique volume will be valuable to the large and diverse community of researchers who concern themselves with the development of behavior and the development of the nervous system." — Larry R. Squire, University of California-San Diego

"This book will be the authoritative reference on neurobehavioral development for many years to come." — Kent C. Berridge, University of Michigan 


Freaks of NatureBlumberg, M. S. Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us About Development and Evolution. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. (Amazon.com)

"Mark Blumberg's beautifully written book introduces some major problems in both developmental and evolutionary biology. Individuals can sometimes develop in astonishingly aberrant ways. These freaks of nature challenge the way we think about development and, over the years, have caused some biologists to wonder whether the formation of new species is always as continuous as orthodox theories of evolution purpose." — Sir Patrick Bateson, University of Cambridge

"Mark Blumberg is a freak of literature—one of the very few scientist-writers (think Stephen Jay Gould or Oliver Sacks) who can sweep us along as they try to figure out how the exceptions in the species can prove the rule of who we all are. In Freaks of Nature, the specimens are certainly riveting, but it's also Blumberg's lucid, lyrical, profound insights into what it means to be human that will stay with the reader."— Richard Panek, author of Seeing and Believing: How the Telescope Opened Our Eyes and Minds to the Heavens

"...a highly readable, entertaining, and informative introduction to the science and culture connected with freaks and monsters." — Manfred D. Laubichler, Arizona State University, Science

"Blumberg illustrates his points with clear and intriguing examples." — Jerry A. Coyne, University of Chicago, Nature (see also this response)

"[A]n elegant effort....All writers of popular natural history books will these days be compared to the late Stephen Jay Gould...but with Freaks of Nature a comparison seems apt." — Jennie Erin Smith, Times Literary Supplement

"Blumberg gives a fascinating and well-reasoned analysis for the plasticity and integration of mind and behavior." — Scott Gilbert, Swarthmore College, The Journal of Clinical Investigation

"Whatever the reason for visiting the Mütter Museum—fascination, repulsion, even derision—people tend to leave more informed and perhaps even more aware than when they arrive. And that is exactly how I felt after reading this book." — Anna N. Dhody, Curator of the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, in The Scientist

"A fascinating pop exegesis of evo devo." — Steven Poole,  The Guardian

"Freaks of Nature examines various kinds of disfigurement that occur in both human beings and animals, includes diagrams and photographs, and questions our assumptions about the abnormally developed....Blumberg urges us to consider how our ideas of what is natural can and should expand to include the anomalies among us." — The Chronicle Review

"Timely and wide-ranging." — New Scientist

"If you're interested in the science behind the macabre, this book will thrill you." — io9.com

"One of the best books of 2008." — Neurotopia

"With well-picked examples, Blumberg constructs his at first peculiar, but ultimately profound, argument...Startlingly convincing." — Elizabeth Quill, Science News

"Blumberg advocates for a more supple understanding of the interplay between development, behavior, and evolution than has usually been accepted." — Jason B. Jones, Boldtype

"Blumberg takes us on a tour of real-life teratology, and how understanding abnormalities is casting new light on the relationship between the genetic and non-genetic forces that shape us all." — Stephen Cass, Discover

"A stimulating read." — Rob Hastings, Financial Times

"Blumberg's explanations of the factors that go into [these] deformations are gripping." — Robert Colvile, Daily Telegraph

"This book offers a unique perspective, challenging our view of science, evolution, and social archetypes by examining the nature of malformations." — Doody's Health Sciences Review, 4-star review

"An interesting and insightful evolution-based examination of a curious topic." — Benjamin Radford, Skeptical Inquirer

"Recommended." — Choice

"Engrossing and interesting." — John Wilkins, Evolving Thoughts


Basic InstinctBlumberg, M. S. Basic Instinct: The Genesis of Behavior. New York: Basic Books, 2005. (Amazon.com)

"The writing is as persuasive as it is rich in intriguing detail..." — Publisher's Weekly

"Blumberg’s original contribution to this ongoing discussion is his presentation of several examples of painstaking research showing that developmental, that is, experiential and epigenetic, factors can always be found to underlie seemingly instinctive or innate behaviors." — Gary Greenberg, Wichita State University, Developmental Psychobiology

"Blumberg, a neuroscientist at the University of Iowa, is not so convinced about creatures being born knowing how to do something, and he picks apart this notion in Basic Instinct....Blumberg ultimately sides with the nonnativists, explaining that too often the knee-jerk invocation of instinct is misleading.” — Richard Lipkin, Scientific American Mind


Body HeatBlumberg, M. S. Body Heat: Temperature and Life on Earth. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2002. (Amazon.com)

"Blumberg’s breadth and penchant for parsimony is a wonderful reminder of the power of integrative thinking....Most readers should find Body Heat a source of intellectual enjoyment as well as a useful resource for presentations, explications, and esoterica to impress, amuse, and delight." — Jeffrey Alberts, Indiana University, Developmental Psychobiology

"This is a marvelous little book....Blumberg's writing is a work of art. He explains scientific facts and complicated concepts in clear, simple language. He conveys his own sense of wonder, excitement, and curiosity....If you are interested in mammals, biology, natural history, or psychology, you will enjoy reading this little book." — James Brown, University of New Mexico, Journal of Mammalogy

"Blumberg loves his subject, is convinced of its importance, and he wants to put across the intrinsic interest of temperature physiology to a larger audience. He retains a light touch—and because he is an active researcher in his own right, is able to bring new information and new insights to his pages." — Jonathan Kingdon, University of Oxford, Times Literary Supplement

"This book is a real treat. Mark Blumberg takes something we normally hardly think about, and makes it into a fascinating topic, with colorful examples from fields as disparate as etymology and entomology. You probably will be repeating many of the stories he tells to those around you, as you discover why a fever may be good for you, or how babies generate their own heat, or how eating disorders interact with body temperature problems. It's entertaining, interesting, and great fun." — Michael Leon, University of California, Irvine

"This is an engaging enchilada of a book, wrapping up cold feet, a warm heart, hot sex, and chili peppers, for easy digestion by the general science consumer. Delicious!" — Bernd Heinrich, University of Vermont, and author of The Hot-Blooded Insects: Strategies and Mechanisms of Thermoregulation

"There's a little twinkle in Mark Blumberg's eye as he explains the role of temperature in life on Earth, that essential gleam that makes books about science successful and appealing....His writing is clear, a fine balance of explanation, example and ideas." — Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"should charm attentive readers from all walks of life." — Philip Morrison, American Scientist

"The need to maintain body temperature within a narrow range is the biggest single influence on physiology and behaviour, as Mark Blumberg explains in this little gem of a book, Body Heat....Blumberg describes the exquisite mechanisms developed by different species to generate, conserve or lose body heat." — John Bonner, New Scientist

"This is one of those books that leaves you for a few heady days in possession of a new key to all mysteries. Written entertainingly for a popular audience, the book argues that the evolved behaviour and physical characteristics of most creatures, from the tiniest nematode worm to the largest whale, is governed by the need to maintain a comfortable body temperature." — Emma Crichton-Miller, The Telegraph

"Blumberg...presents a thoroughly interesting book on body temperature and its many influences....Body Heat is great reading, certain to produce an enlightened appreciation for how body temperature control is critical for all organisms." — M. A. Palladino, Choice

"...an engrossing, fact-filled account of why all life is merely a matter of degrees." — Publisher's Weekly

"Packed with important scientific insights and a lively style which lends to leisure browsing, Body Heat is a remarkable survey." — Bookwatch