From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies comes an important analysis of the history and future of genetics. In Siddhartha Mukherjee’s new book, The Gene: An Intimate History, we learn about the journey of scientists, from Aristotle to Darwin, and the discovery of the Double Helix to the Human Genome Project. Gregor Mendel truly gave “peas a chance” as the pioneer of heredity experiments, while the horrors of “genetic cleansing” in Nazi Germany brought to light the dangers of modifications in humans. Mukherjee’s extensive research is brought to life by the story of how mental illness has affected his family and the genetic implications. The Gene is a message to all: we hold many answers but must continue to ask questions.
— Sandra, Seattle
From the Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies a magnificent history of the gene and a response to the defining question of the future: What becomes of being human when we learn to read and write our own genetic information? Siddhartha Mukherjee has a written a biography of the gene as deft, brilliant, and illuminating as his extraordinarily successful biography of cancer. Weaving science, social history, and personal narrative to tell us the story of one of the most important conceptual breakthroughs of modern times, Mukherjee animates the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices. Throughout the narrative, the story of Mukherjee's own family with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness cuts like a bright, red line, reminding us of the many questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In superb prose and with an instinct for the dramatic scene, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome. As The New Yorker said of The Emperor of All Maladies, It's hard to think of many books for a general audience that have rendered any area of modern science and technology with such intelligence, accessibility, and compassion An extraordinary achievement. Riveting, revelatory, and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, and an essential preparation for the moral complexity introduced by our ability to create or write the human genome, The Gene is a must-read for everyone concerned about the definition and future of humanity. This is the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master.