The Making of Memory by Steven Rose
This is not a book on consciousness but there is no doubt that memory is a fundamental component of mind. That’s the reason why I am also interested in the research of memory in mammals and that’s why I read this book by Steven Rose: The Making of Memory. From Molecules to Mind. (ISBN: 0099449986. 1992. Actually my copy is a revised edition published by Vintage in 2003).
As the title suggests, Rose offers a scientific review of current advances in the study of the processes of memory at the biochemical, physiological, and cognitive levels. However, one has to take into account that this is not a cognitive science book, and the strength is given in the realms of biochemistry and physiology. The book is to a great extend a biography of Rose’s research career, which I believe is a good strategy to introduce the world of biochemical research to the reader. For those whose field of research is not related with biology or physiology labs (like me) the book provides a good insight about how things are done, what animals and methods are used, and finally how science knowledge is obtained out of these sort of scientific research. Additionally, Rose makes an interlude in chapter 13, where he describes from his own experience how the social aspects of science and scientific community dynamics interact in the whole process of research, bringing to light the back-stage issues constantly present in the life of a scientific researcher.
This book is a great opportunity to discover the great complexity of the brain when you look at it from the point of view of biological processes that take place at the levels of description studied by biochemistry (composition), physiology (dynamics), and to a lesser extend psychology (cognitive functions). If you are interested in neurosciences, you’ll have fun reading this book.