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Narrow Roads of Gene Land, Volume 2: Evolution of Sex Paperback – January 17, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0198503361 ISBN-10: 0198503369 Edition: 1st

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Narrow Roads of Gene Land, Volume 2: Evolution of Sex + Narrow Roads of Gene Land: The Collected Papers of W. D. Hamilton Volume 1: Evolution of Social Behaviour (Narrow Roads of Gene Land Vol. 1) + Narrow Roads of Gene Land: The Collected Papers of W. D. Hamilton Volume 3: Last Words
Price for all three: $257.40

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Product Details

  • Series: Evolution of Sex, 2
  • Paperback: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0198503369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0198503361
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #127,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


Praise for Volume 1: "...the tale of a solitary boy who wandered the roads of Kent in search of insects and grew up to wander the roads of modern evolutionary theory." --Natural History


"This book is the evolutionary biologist's Harry Potter: the long-awaited sequel to a captivating story of a young man with extraordinary powers."--Nature


About the Author


W. D. Hamilton is one of the most influential biologists of the 20th century and is widely regarded as the most important theoretical innovator in the evolutionary study of behavior since Darwin. He is known throughout the world for his seminal work on social evolution (kin selection), sex ratio evolution and, more recently, for work on the involvement of parasites in sexual selection and on the evolutionary maintenance of sexuality. A Fellow of the Royal Society and a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Hamilton is a Royal Society Research Professor in the Zoology Department at Oxford University. His awards include the Albert Wander Foundation Prize (Switzerland, 1992), the Crafoord Prize (Sweden, 1993), and the Kyoto Prize (Japan, 1993).

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Anderson on December 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
...marred only by the untimely death of the author. Volume Two focuses on the second half of the extraordinary career of the MOST extraordinary W.D. Hamilton. The papers presented here are almost without exception key components of much of what many of us regard as an appropriate evolutionary approach to the origins of sex, kinship, disease response etc. and the book would be worth having just to get all of these in a convenient bound form instead of the dog-eared xeroxes that doubtless clog up many of your files. Beyond that however we also get more of hamilton's delightful insights into just how he came up with an idea, who he was talking to, where he was while he was working on a concept, what he thought of a piece of work years later, etc. etc, -in other words all the "gossip" that when you know it makes science a real human endeavor, and when it is left out tends to leave many of us cold. Above all else one gets the sense that here was someone who was without question a genius, but was also a lovely person as well -someone with a sense of humor and a sense of his own mortality, who at the same time could revel in the sheer beauty of an idea, or the notion of life as a cosmic joke that must nonetheless be taken seriously. Anyone who is interested in the DOING of science as well as the content would be well advised to browse through this book. The intro by Dawkins is frankly skippable, but the rest? Sheer joy!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By V. E. Lane on August 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
Richard Dawkins has described William Hamilton as "the greatest Darwinian since Darwin". The concept of kin selection, in particular, has been described by no lesser figure than Robert Trivers as "the only true advance since Darwin in our understanding of natural selection" (Trivers 2000). The clarity of his writing style, however, leaves much to be desired. Even the title of the work, 'Narrow Roads of Gene Land', is somewhat clumsy.

On the one hand, his papers are notoriously heavily mathematical. His seminal paper on 'the Genetical Theory of Social Behaviour' was, according to John Maynard Smith, passed around several peer reviewers who had failed to understand it before it ended up in his own hands. Even with the modifications Maynard Smith had recommended, the lack of clarity in its style may partially explain why, until the mid-seventies, it was rarely cited (see Defenders of the Truth: The Sociobiology Debate).

Actually, the mathematics is relatively basic if you take the trouble to understand it (and also rather ugly). However, for non-mathematically inclined biologists and social scientists, it is nevertheless daunting. Given that Hamilton's work is potentially of interest, not only to biologists, but also to many psychologists, anthropologists, other social scientists and even the educated laity, this inaccessibility is problematic.

The autobiographical interludes which frame each of the papers adopt an entirely different style - rambling, poetic and anecdotal - but are only marginally more intelligible.
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Bill Hamilton did a lot of thinking in things as simple as book reviews: This collection is highly recommended for these kinds of pithy insights
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