From Library Journal
Morgan, a science writer with a penchant for presenting controversial theories (The Scars of Evolution, Oxford, 1991), continues this tendency in her latest book. Here, Morgan's premise is that human intelligence is a by-product of evolutionary pressures on infants. While it is intriguing and probably good science to suggest that the current thought about human evolution might benefit from prudent review of stages of development other than the adult (as it has from reviewing gender differences), there is little evidence presented. Morgan offers a superficial review of information about sex (covered more thoroughly in Matt Ridley's The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, LJ 1/94, and Richard E. Michod's Eros and Evolution: A Natural Philosophy of Sex, LJ 12/94), reproductive development (covered well in Robert Pool's Eve's Rib: Searching for the Biological Roots of Sex Differences, LJ 5/1/94), child rearing and parental roles, along with a rambling discussion of current socio-political problems. Additionally, her examination of evolutionary theory, particularly natural selection, is vague. The overall result is a diffuse skimming of topics that require more thorough presentation and inclusion of alternative theories.
Constance Rinaldo, Dartmouth Coll. Biomedical Libs., Hanover, N.H.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Provides a rollicking review of human sexuality,...childbirth in warm water, and mother infant competition....The Descent of the Child...leaves the reader...very informed about infant development."--The Los Angeles Times
"A feast for the mind....the story that Elaine Morgan tells is both hopeful and redolent with the wonder of the greatest of all miracles, the generation of new life and its gradual development into an adult human. This is a wonderful little book"--Times Educational Supplement
"The biological origins of human 'naturalness' and its role in our modern life are the central themes of this original and racily written book....This book will entertain the general reader, and may inspire some to study biology in greater depth....Morgan's enthusiasm for her work is infectious"--New Scientist
"How children develop from Zygote to human being is here knowledgeably and readably laid out for the layman. Elaine Morgan draws on all available scientific work and pulls it together...a compelling read"--The Times
"A highly readable treatise on human development so good it can be recommended to any new or about to be ma (and pa)....We can learn a lot from and about babies and children, and Morgan is a first rate guide."--Kirkus Reviews
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