Top critical review
A Terse Introduction to String Theory
Reviewed in the United States on January 31, 2012
In this book, George Musser has made an attempt to introduce the concept of string theory to the masses; however, I don't think this "idiot's guide" really accomplishes that goal. Musser covers a wide range of topics in twenty-three bite size chapters of about ten to twelve pages each. I have found in chapter after chapter that the discussion is too superficial to really grasp the concepts discussed. If you think of the vast knowledge of this subject matter as being a large pond, this book will simply give you bits and pieces of information like a rock skimming across the surface of the pond. If you had no prior knowledge of the subject matter, I just think you would walk away with not much more that a smattering of facts and information, but no real depth of understanding.
Of course, to be fair, this is a difficult subject to "translate" into the common vernacular so to speak, but I know some justice can be done to this feat. I know because I have read the books written by Brian Greene on the subject. For example, Green's book "The Elegant Universe" did a splendid job of presenting the concepts of string theory and the cosmos in a manner that allowed comprehension by the non-expert.
Nevertheless, in his book, Musser touches on many subjects, such as relativity, quantum theory and the world of the small, the Standard Model, black holes, the big bang, time travel, gravitons, strings, loop quantum gravity, extra dimensions, parallel universes, symmetry, branes, testing string theory, and more. New terms introduced are defined in sidebars as are explanations of key ideas and concepts albeit tersely.
If you can be content by a collection of "fast facts" on this subject matter, you will probably find this book satisfying.