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A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived

A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived (2016)

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292855,336 (4.08)31
Title:A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived
Info:Weidenfeld & Nicolson
Collections:Guardian reviews, Wishlist

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A Brief Histøry of Everyone Who Ever Lived by Adam Rutherford (2016)


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This was an overview of human ancestry and genetics by a British scientist currently doing work in that discipline. Interesting, understandable, and readable. I enjoyed it.
  benjfrank | Sep 11, 2018 |
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  ccatalfo | Aug 14, 2018 |
I expected to like this more than I did. From the title, it seemed to be a good choice since I enjoyed both Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and The Gene: An Intimate History. The first part of the book, which covered the history of humans from earlier species up into the eighteenth century, did live up to my expectations but the second part was a disappointment. That part was about who we are today and what the study of DNA tells us about ourselves. Maybe it mixed in too much sociology and psychology or maybe it just covered ground faster than I could follow. I do know some of my problem with this part of the book had to do with the author inserting his own slant into it, such as his rant against creationism. I suspect those of us who made it that far into the book were already on the same page, so to speak, so it just seemed unnecessary. This is just my opinion but the second part would have been much better with tighter editing. ( )
  wandaly | Mar 30, 2018 |
This book traces the history of homo sapiens through our DNA. It is mostly about genetics and genomics, and is addressed to the lay reader. This doesn't make it an easy read, but I found it a worthwhile one. The key point that it brought home to me was just how complicated human genetics really are. The idea of a "cancer gene" or an "intelligence gene" vastly oversimplifies; Rutherford makes it clear that many, many different genes affect most traits (including susceptibility to most diseases) rather than the simple one-to-one equivalence that a lot of popular writing implies. I found it an informative and accessible read about a complex subject. ( )
  annbury | Dec 28, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rutherford, Adamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Garceau, PeteCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mukherjee, SiddharthaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species--births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away--until now. Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story--from 100,000 years ago to the present. A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived will upend your thinking on Neanderthals, evolution, royalty, race, and even redheads. (For example, we now know that at least four human species once roamed the earth.) Plus, here is the remarkable, controversial story of how our genes made their way to the Americas--one that's still being written, as ever more of us have our DNA sequenced. Rutherford closes with "A Short Introduction to the Future of Humankind," filled with provocative questions that we're on the cusp of answering: Are we still in the grasp of natural selection? Are we evolving for better or worse? And . . . where do we go from here?… (more)

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