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The Invisible History of the Human Race: How…

The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our…

by Christine Kenneally

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1861063,528 (4.11)16

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Originally posted at A Book So Fathomless

3.5 stars

My experience with non-fiction is limited to textbooks, and other things I’ve been forced to read over the years for class. I don’t hate non-fiction, but I don’t love it either. I think I’m more of a literary based non-fiction reader, so biographies of authors, or literary criticism – that sort of thing.

I just wanted to mention this because I think this book is probably really good, but it’s just not my sort of thing. I wish I could say I was still interested in science, but honestly I think I left that behind at high school.

I’m sure a lot of people would really enjoy this, and I did personally like sections. I really loved the first part of the book that looked at genealogy in Western society and elsewhere. The chapter about genealogy in Nazi Germany was particularly interesting. But sometimes, the science behind it all just got a little too much for me.

I think the writing style was great too. I loved how personal it was and I definitely laughed a few times which I wasn’t really expecting. Even though I have a very basic knowledge of most of the things covered in this book and even though I wasn’t passionate about any of it, the writing was so engaging that I kept reading long after where I would have usually given up.

Basically, this is a great book, just not my kind of book. ( )
  EarlGreyBooks | Aug 2, 2017 |
Valuable for its insights into genetic makeup. Like some genes get passed in chunks rather than being evenly divided from parents to child. Ashkenazi Jews now have genetic testing ore marriage so that Tays Sachs doesn't get passed on. ( )
  bereanna | Jul 1, 2016 |
I found this to be an excellent read. The author does a very good job explaining how external factors such as historical events and population changes contribute to our DNA. ( )
  RodMerrill | Jun 20, 2016 |
3.5 stars

The biggest problem for me with this book is one of my own making - I listened to it as an audiobook rather than read a copy. So I fear I didn't retain near enough detail. Also, some things I wanted to follow up on with more research are already gone from my mind. And where they might be within the 12 hours of this reading... is anyone's guess. So if you want to read this book, do yourself a favor & actually read it.

That being said, I suspect I'll pick up a hard copy of this at some point to refer to, because it is rich with information. There were a couple chapters that seemed to go astray from what I expected the book to be like. It became more personal & anthropological at times. And while it's interesting to hear how African communities that were hit hard by the slave trade exhibit much distrust of others even today, without a genetic or biological link to how or why that happens, it became an anecdote that went on for far too long. Things like that brought the book to a more conversational level, and belied some of the bigger themes at work.

Such as race: it was very relevant to hear the bit about race vs ancestry, & how genetics makes the case for ancestry over race. Hearing about groups like the Melungeons was also interesting: where DID they come from? how did they get so isolated that they developed so distinctly? how long would that take? Our DNA can tell us so much.

Overall, if this topic interests you, this is a good book to pick up.

( )
1 vote LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
Absolutely fascinating. I was enthralled by this truly exciting book. ( )
  phoebekw | Feb 29, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670025550, Hardcover)

How biology, psychology, and history shape us as individuals

We are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it, but how are we affected by the forces that are invisible to us? In The Invisible History of the Human Race
Christine Kenneally draws on cutting-edge research to reveal how both historical artifacts and DNA tell us where we come from and where we may be going. While some
books explore our genetic inheritance and popular television shows celebrate ancestry, this is the first book to explore how everything from DNA to emotions to names
and the stories that form our lives are all part of our human legacy. Kenneally shows how trust is inherited in Africa, silence is passed down in Tasmania, and how the
history of nations is written in our DNA. From fateful, ancient encounters to modern mass migrations and medical diagnoses, Kenneally explains how the forces that
shaped the history of the world ultimately shape each human who inhabits it.

The Invisible History of the Human Race is a deeply researched, carefully crafted and provocative perspective on how our stories, psychology, and genetics affect our
past and our future.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:56 -0400)

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