Melvin Berger Critical Essays


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Melvin Berger 1927–

American young adult nonfiction writer, biographer, and lecturer. Berger is a popular and prolific author of nonfiction works which explain aspects of science and music to a young adult audience. He is perhaps best known for his Scientists at Work series, which deals with pollution, cancer, crime detection, oceanography, weather, and medical research. A related concern is with the environment, and in The New Air Book, Jobs That Save Our Environment, and The New Water Book Berger demonstrates the impact that technological advances have had on nature. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and a professional violist, he has written several introductions to instruments, noted musicians, and types of music. Believing that "all music is related to the world in which it was created or is being performed," he writes books that "relate the art of music to the social, political, and scientific ideas of the time." Although most critics praise his ability to simplify complicated theories, there are dissenters who maintain that his explanations lack precision. The majority of his books describe related jobs and their qualifications, a useful feature for the young adult planning a career. Recently Berger has begun collaborating with his wife, Gilda, herself an author of nonfiction for young people. (See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 5-8, rev. ed., and Something about the Author, Vol. 5.)