3 out of 4 stars
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Forensic Engineering Experience & Example, by Conrad Hoffman, is a book that aims to give the reader a taste of what the life of a forensic engineer is like. It does not attempt to ‘sell’ the reader on pursuing it as a career, though it provides helpful tips and resources for readers who plan to, and presents a balanced picture of the glamour of the courtroom and the dreary pursuit of examining a scene and writing reports.
The author makes it clear at the very beginning that this is not a textbook for forensic engineers. As a reader with no plans in that direction, the book remained both accessible as well as interesting. The focus of this book is for the author to go through and explain the various facets of forensic engineering. He describes the process chronologically from the client's call to the trial in court. Along the way, he gives a variety of tips and tricks that he has learned over a long and successful career in the field. In addition, there are case studies that serve to drive home specific points that he is making, like the importance of keeping your records. Each chapter ends with a summary highlighting the key takeaways from the section.
The book is a treasure trove of relevant information that is laid out with a very clean structure. I learnt a lot by reading this, even without any intention of becoming a forensic engineer. The author explains his case studies without delving too far into the engineering aspects that would be hard for a casual reader to follow. I found the case studies relevant, short and engaging and felt at the end of the book that I knew the author quite well.
Unfortunately, there were also severe formatting and editing issues with the book. Whole pages are left blank for no apparent reason. There are a variety of bizarre formatting errors and out of place line breaks. There was even an entire page where some of the text was obscured by a blank white box. In addition, there were quite a few typos and errors. A combination of these things made the book harder to read and enjoy and should certainly be fixed at the earliest.
As a result of these factors, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend this book to people who are interested in pursuing a career in forensic engineering or who are undecided. The ideas are expressed in plain English, and no technical background is needed. The book is also interesting by itself, so I would also recommend it for people who just want an overview of what forensic engineering is about.
Editor's Note: The publisher states the formatting issues mentioned in the review do not appear in the published version of the book.
Forensic Engineering Experience & Example
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