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Author Levi's Book Reviews

The Periodic Table
Primo Levi, the Italian chemist who was taken to Auschwitz at the age of 24, presents a kind of literary autobiography of a chemist. Each chapter is named for a chemical element -- from Nickel to Titanium; from Hydrogen, Gold, and Sulfur to Vanadium and Arsenic. Sometimes the chapter involves an incident with that particular element at its center, sometimes the element serves more as a metaphor for the action. We learn about detective hunts in the lab, a...