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Forensic Science: In Pursuit of Justice…
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Forensic Science: In Pursuit of Justice (History of Science)

by L. E. Carmichael

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Forensic Science: In Pursuit of Justice appears to be a specialized book because it is about a specific topic, forensic science. This book offers plenty of information on this topic and does a thorough job of covering different aspects of forensic science. Forensic Science was published in 2015 and covers past history of forensic science as well as current uses and applications. The topical structure of the text chunks information into nine distinct chapters ranging from DNA fingerprinting to the future of forensics. Within each chapter, the information is presented in an organizational structure, explaining the history of each area of forensics and any discoveries or inventions and their changes over time.
The content of this book is a detailed explanation of the areas of forensic science and each area’s history and role in solving crimes. The reader learns about DNA fingerprinting, autopsies, fingerprints, and chemical use in this text. All of these can give clues to how, when, and by whom a crime was committed. Other topics covered include how firearm analyses, blood splatter patterns, and fiber evidence can be used to piece together details of a crime. This text does a fantastic job of explaining how science plays a role in almost every aspect of forensic science. For example, on page 24, it explains how the American Board of Forensic Entomology uses insects to find out more about a victim including if they had been drugged or poisoned, or if their body has been relocated. Readers of this book would also learn about many important pioneers in the field of forensic science. They are highlighted throughout the text for their contributions towards the field. An example of this would be on page 18 where Bernard Spilsbury is introduced as the mastermind behind the first murder bag. In the 1800’s this was an example of advanced forensics. “Discovery Spotlight” pages are used to highlight discoveries made in forensic science that advance the field such as the polymerase chain reaction on page 14. This discovery has greatly affected forensic science through DNA testing and biochemist Kary Mullis won a Noel Prize for this in 1993.

The cover of the book is simple other than a fingerprint, glass test tube, and a faint illustration of crime tape. The color choices of yellow and neon green are a bit odd, but it still gives a science feel when looking at the cover. On the bottom right corner, it says History of Science, because this book is a part of a series and this hints that there will be some history involved in this texts’ contents. This book’s end pages are plain and white and it has a simple straightforward table of contents. In addition, there is a timeline, essential facts, glossary, additional resources, source notes, and index included in the rear of the text. The glossary is lacking many terms used throughout the text. For example, on page 56 anthropometry is discussed, but there is no sign of it in the glossary. The index in Forensic Science is detailed and includes each topic or person covered in every chapter including vocabulary terms that cannot be found in the glossary. Sidebars are used often throughout this text, offering additional information on the topics in each chapter.
The formatting of Forensic Science uses clear, colorful photographs in each chapter to give a visual representation of each topic discussed. The photographs are combination of macro photography and typical photography and the photographs are of forensic scientists and objects useful in the field of forensic science. The text is void of any charts, graphs, maps, or illustrations. This does not take away from the text.
Forensic Science: In Pursuit of Justice would be a resourceful book for middle school to high school aged students. This text would be great for someone who wanted to learn about the history of forensic science and learn when how and when discoveries and breakthroughs made their way into the field. The ideas presented are very clear and easy to understand. The sidebars do an excellent job of clarifying information or adding more information to the topics discussed on each page. An example of this is on page 58 in the sidebar the text discusses how French scientist Edmond Locard discovered the arrangement of sweat pores along the ridged lines of our fingerprints and how burning your fingertips cannot disfigure your prints. This “extra” information serves to answer a common question a reader may have while reading about fingerprinting. The text uses precise language so that the reader is able to learn the correct terms and explains each term in clear language that the target audience can understand. All ideas are presented in a way that the information is easy to understand and flows seamlessly through history’s advances in science. The tone is neutral with the author writing in an objective way, showing no biases.
  jgum | Mar 17, 2016 |
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"This title presents the history of forensics. Vivid text details how early studies of toxic chemicals and firearm analysis led to modern scientific crime solving techniques. It also puts a spotlight on the brilliant scientists who made these advances possible."--Publisher's website.… (more)

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