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It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down…

It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree (original 2017; edition 2017)

by A. J. Jacobs (Author)

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1981585,930 (3.46)24
Title:It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree
Authors:A. J. Jacobs (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2017), 352 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree by A. J. Jacobs (2017)


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This covers a few of my favorite bases. I love A.J.Jacobs and genealogy is a passion of mine. He doesn’t disappoint, and gets into the new effects of DNA testing in family research. ( )
  LMJenkins | Nov 28, 2018 |
Jacobs has written excellent books about his lifestyle experiments of trying to follow all the explicit rules of the Bible and reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. Both books offer funny observations and lots of tidbits of arcane knowledge. In this book, Jacobs applies a similar approach to genealogy, with much of the book structured around attempting a Guinness World Record for a Global Family Reunion, inviting everyone Jacobs is genetically related to (which could be everyone in the world).

Along the way, Jacobs examines traditional genealogical pursuits of family historians, and the newer methods of genetic testing and collaborative websites, and the tensions among them. Jacobs visits with Mormon genealogists, attends the Hatfields and McCoys reunion, explores the practice of polyamory, goes to a twins convention, and interviews celebrities who are his distant relations.

This book feels weak compared with Jacobs other books, as if he was seeking out other genealogical things to do to fill in blank spaces around his story of the family reunion. Maybe it would've been more focused as shorter work rather than a book? ( )
  Othemts | Sep 7, 2018 |
I listened to the audiobook version, and it was breezy and engaging, and light enough to not miss the thread of an ongoing argument if I got distracted by something. I've worked in a local history department of a public library, much of which ends up being helping people do genealogy research, so there I didn't have much to learn from this overview of genealogy, lineage, interrelationships, and family, but it was engaging enough I don't feel like my time was wasted. ( )
  hikatie | Aug 15, 2018 |
Author A.J. Jacobs returns in another entry in his line of books, this time examining his family tree. You may know of him as the guy who lived in accordance of the Bible's teachings for a year, attempting to memorize the encyclopedia and relating what it was like to try out many fitness fads of the time of the writing. Here he takes on the next "trendy" thing, which in his case was to build the largest family tree and interact with all of his "relations".

That's basically it. Along the way he discusses the why and how, what he learned, the insights of human nature and what is a "family", etc. Some of it is interesting, especially if you're someone who is doing very similar work. It might be very timely, considering how it law enforcement has actually captured people by following and researching on genealogy websites/DNA testing kit programs.

But as others say, this doesn't quite match Jacobs' previous work. I was a fan of his other books, especially 'Drop Dead Health' (the fitness/health gimmick one). I thought his writing has really matured as time has passed and that it showed: that book was really touching because he wrote about the journeys toward death experienced by some in his family and what that taught him. This one seems a little odd, and I wonder if it may have to do with the fact that this was not just about him and his immediate family/friends but rather a bunch of people who are strangers, "relations" or not.

I think it depends. If you're someone who's currently doing similar stuff to Jacobs or have an interest, then it might be a good pick up to read. I'm glad I got this one out of the library. But as I enjoyed his other books, I'll continue to keep an eye out for his next work. ( )
  acciolibros | Jun 3, 2018 |
Mr. Jacobs' take on the world of genealogy is typically funny and wry but also very genuine. His experiences with hunting down his ancestors and the way in which that changes his feelings towards everyone he meets is part of the magic of the process. Realizing that we are all connected does change the way we see each other. I only wish I had read this book sooner and heard of the reunion in time to attend! ( )
  tjsjohanna | Apr 11, 2018 |
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To Julie, Jasper, Zane, and Lucas
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The Eighth Cousin
My story begins three years ago with one of the strangest emails I've ever received.
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Traces the author's three-year investigation into what constitutes family, describing how, after receiving an e-mail from a stranger who claimed to be a distant cousin, he embarked on an effort to build the biggest family tree in history.

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