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True Books

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Universal Foam: From Cappuccino to the Cosmos, by Sidney Perkowitz (Walker & Company, $24).

Synopsis: Everything that is frothy, from beer to bread to suds to cork to the entire universe, is considered.

Representative quote: "Fifteen billion years later, we find ourselves within a stupendous galactic foam, while around us a minute quantum foam imperceptibly shapes spacetime. This span in the meaning of foam is awesome to the spirit but distant to the senses."

Noteworthy flaw: Nothing about Britney Spears.

The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus, by Lee Strobel (Zondervan Publishing, $12.99).

Synopsis: The former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune intersperses tales of his big scoops for the newspaper with his investigations into the utter veracity of the New Testament account of the life of Jesus. He finds it irrefutably true, primarily by consulting with experts.

Representative quote: "Well-known psychologist Gary Collins said Jesus exhibited no inappropriate emotions, was in contact with reality, was brilliant and had amazing insights into human nature, and enjoyed deep and abiding relationships. 'I just don't see signs that Jesus was suffering from any known mental illness,' he concluded."

Noteworthy flaw: Seasoned journalist confuses investigation with rounding up people who believe exactly as he does and letting them have their say.

The Crazy Makers: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Brains and Harming Our Children, by Carol Simontacchi (Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, $24.95).

Synopsis: Eating used to be a holistic experience that nurtured our bodies and minds. Now our brains are being poisoned and destroyed by harmful chemicals in nearly everything we eat. "Our food is, quite literally, driving us crazy."

Representative quote: "He'd been sent back to the principal's office for fighting. After considerable probing by his baffled mother, he confessed to eating one Wheat Thin for lunch--and that set him off like a firecracker."

Noteworthy flaw: The book, which touts itself as "impeccably reported," makes its first glaring factual error on page one, when Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, published to huge acclaim in 1962, is said to have been written in "the early seventies."

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): book covers.

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