“Outstanding Title!... Marks traces the history of scientific attempts to describe and account for human biological variation. Covering the 17th century to the present, his study stresses the derivation of scientific ideas from the social problems and values with which they share history… A highly readable, thought-provoking, and comprehensive treatment of popular and scholarly interest in race and human variation. General readers; upper-division undergraduates and above.”
—S. A. Quandt, Choice
“[Jonathan Marks’s] thoughtful and witty book is about one of the “wrongest” of scientific notions: namely, the idea that the human species can be divided into discrete biological subunits, or races…. Marks casts his book as both an introduction to the current state of human genetics and a cautionary historical tale about what happens when scientists do not examine their most basic assumptions. Beginning in 1699 with the publication of Edward Tyson’s famous comparison of a human and a chimp, Marks structures his historical account around the assumptions that have given rise to the 20th-century biological concept of race…. What Marks has given us is truly a “people’s history of human biodiversity.” I do not know of a more lively and heartfelt introduction.”
—Misia Landau, American Anthropologist
About the Author
Jonathan Marks is a professor of anthropology, at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He earned his M.S. in genetics, and M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Arizona, and has conducted postdoctoral research in genetics at the University of California at Davis. Mark's work on "molecular anthropology" has been widely published in professional journals.