Each day we highlight one of the 36 finalists leading up to the April 8 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, presented by Education Minnesota. Today we feature 2017 General Nonfiction finalist:
The War on Science: Who’s Waging It, Why it Matters, What We Can Do About It by Shawn Otto
Published by: Milkweed Editions
Category Sponsor: College of Saint Benedict Literary Arts Institute and Saint John’s University
At the very time we need it most, the idea of objective knowledge is being bombarded by a vast, well-funded, three-part war on science: the identity politics war on science, the ideological war on science, and the industrial war on science. The result is an unprecedented erosion of thought in Western democracies as voters, policymakers, justices, and the news media ignore evidence in favor of the demands of the most strident voices. Otto’s provocative new book investigates why and how evidence-based politics are in decline and authoritarian politics are once again on the rise, and offers some compelling solutions.
Shawn Otto is producer of the US presidential science debates and the only person to get Donald Trump to answer science-related questions during the campaign. His first book, Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault On Science in America was a 2012 Minnesota Book Award winner. He is also a screenwriter and novelist, writing the Oscar-nominated “House of Sand and Fog,” and the LA Times Book Prize finalist, Sins of Our Fathers. He and his wife, Rebecca Otto, live in a solar and wind-powered green home they built with their own hands. The couple have one son, Jacob.
“Every so often a book comes along that changes the way you view the world. The War on Science is one of those rare books…[it is] a resource for people who ponder what it means to live in a free society and the important role scientists play in conveying good science to the larger public. ” – The Guardian
“War on Science was not written to encourage doom and gloom. The author’s extensive research is enlightening for those who, in recent years, have felt discouraged by the anti-science sentiments that seem to be on the rise.” – Science Borealis
“When a scientist’s objective facts have contradicted what powerful people believed or wanted others to believe, those with power have often gone to great lengths to discredit the science or silence the scientist. Shawn Otto begins this book with Thomas Jefferson’s belief that the well informed voter is at the heart of the modern democracy. He chronicles a sampling of the forces that have been arrayed against understanding based on science up to today and ends by asking “…will we, the people, remain well enough informed to be trusted with our own government?” Anyone interested in science, history, the politics of power or truth will find a great deal to think about in this very readable book.”
– Minnesota Book Awards judge
Beyond the Book:
Audio: Interview with Shawn Otto, Wisconsin Public Radio
Video: The Wrap, featuring Shawn Otto – TPT “Almanac”
Interview: “Talking Policy: Shawn Otto on Science in Politics,” World Policy Blog