aerogelImage: Flickr/Adam Foster

Here is a selection of book reviews from recent issues of Nature on scientific daring, entrepreneurial brio and finely tuned judgment of social need.

Economists Leonid Gokhberg and Dirk Meissner compare studies on the troubled trajectories of innovation in Russia and the United States.

Historian Cyrus Mody reviews an epic account on the visionary engineers exploring cryonics, space colonization, nanotechnology and more in the 1970s.

Technology historian W. Patrick McCray reviews a biography of Nikola Tesla, wizard of the alternating current and scientific showman extraordinaire.

Science writer Andrew Robinson assesses a book on the bicycle and other low-tech, small-scale machines that propelled India through independence.

The dark side of India’s digital boom — an outsourced army of educated, disenfranchised young–emerges in a telling study, reviewed by Andrew Robinson.

Pharmacologist Ming-Wei Wang reviews a book on globalization and venture-backed commerce that argues U.S. scientific supremacy is not toppling any time soon.