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A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History Hardcover – May 6, 2014

ISBN-13: 860-1401399605 ISBN-10: 1594204462 Edition: Second Printing

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A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History + Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors + The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; Second Printing edition (May 6, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594204462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594204463
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Wall Street Journal:
“It is hard to convey how rich this book is….The book is a delight to read—conversational and lucid. And it will trigger an intellectual explosion the likes of which we haven't seen for a few decades….At the heart of the book, stated quietly but with command of the technical literature, is a bombshell….So one way or another, A Troublesome Inheritance will be historic. Its proper reception would mean enduring fame.”

Publishers Weekly: “Wade ventures into territory eschewed by most writers: the evolutionary basis for racial differences across human populations. He argues persuasively that such differences exist… His conclusion is both straightforward and provocative…He makes the case that human evolution is ongoing and that genes can influence, but do not fully control, a variety of behaviors that underpin differing forms of social institutions. Wade’s work is certain to generate a great deal of attention.”

Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University:
“Nicholas Wade combines the virtues of truth without fear and the celebration of genetic diversity as a strength of humanity, thereby creating a forum appropriate to the twenty-first century.”

About the Author

Nicholas Wade received a BA in natural sciences from King’s College, Cambridge. He was the deputy editor of Nature magazine in London and then became that journal’s Washington correspondent. He joined Science magazine in Washington as a reporter and later moved to The New York Times, where he has been an editorial writer, concentrating on issues of defense, space, science, medicine, technology, genetics, molecular biology, the environment, and public policy, a science reporter, and a science editor.

More About the Author


Nicholas Wade is the author of three books about recent human evolution. They are addressed to the general reader interested in knowing what the evolutionary past tells us about human nature and society today.
One, Before the Dawn, published in 2006, traces how people have evolved during the last 50,000 years.
The second book, The Faith Instinct (2009), argues that because of the survival advantage of religion, an instinct for religious behavior was favored by natural selection among early human societies and became universal in all their descendants.
A Troublesome Inheritance (2014), the third of the trilogy, looks at how human races evolved.
Wade was born in Aylesbury, England, and educated at Eton and at King's College, Cambridge, where he studied natural sciences. He became a journalist writing about scientific issues, and has worked at Nature and Science, two weekly scientific magazines, and on the New York Times.





Customer Reviews

Very informative and interesting book.
Jeannine Coleman
His arguments are cogent and scientific, which is much more than can be said of his detractors, who, as Wade notes in his book, were motivated by politics.
Josh
He apparently does not realize that Ashkenazi Jews are one of the best-studied populations for genetic association mapping (including for IQ).
Brad Foley

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

364 of 405 people found the following review helpful By A. Jogalekar VINE VOICE on May 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In this book Nicholas Wade advances two simple premises: firstly, that we should stop looking only toward culture as a determinant of differences between populations and individuals, and secondly, that those who claim that any biological basis for race is fiction are ignoring increasingly important findings from modern genetics and science. The guiding thread throughout the book is that "human evolution is recent, copious and regional" and that this has led to the genesis of distinct differences and classifications between human groups. What we do with this evidence should always be up for social debate, but the evidence itself cannot be ignored.

That is basically the gist of the book. It's worth noting at the outset that at no point does Wade downplay the effects of culture and environment in dictating social, cognitive or behavioral differences - in fact he mentions culture as an important factor at least ten times by my count - but all he is saying is that, based on a variety of scientific studies enabled by the explosive recent growth of genomics and sequencing, we need to now recognize a strong genetic component to these differences.

The book can be roughly divided into three parts. The first part details the many horrific and unseemly uses that the concept of race has been put to by loathsome racists and elitists ranging from Social Darwinists to National Socialists. Wade reminds us that while these perpetrators had a fundamentally misguided, crackpot definition of race, that does not mean race does not exist in a modern incarnation.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Anomaly on August 6, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A Troublesome Inheritance, by Nicholas Wade, should be read by anyone interested in race and recent human evolution. Wade deserves credit for challenging the popular dogma that biological differences between groups either don't exist or cannot explain the relative success of different groups at different tasks. Wade's work should be read alongside another recent book, The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution, by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending.

Together these books represent a major turning point in the public debate about the speed with which relatively isolated groups can evolve: both books suggest that small genetic differences between members of different groups can have large impacts on their abilities and propensities, which in turn affect the outcomes of the societies in which they live. Ever since the 1950s, Wade argues, many academics have denied the biological reality of race, and some have suggested that merely believing in racial differences constitutes a kind of racism (p. 69). But the rejection of race as a useful concept is often more of a political pose than a serious scientific claim, and it became especially popular among academics after the Second World War, during which Nazi pseudo-scientists used claims of racial superiority to justify mass murder.

As it turns out, Ashkenazi Jews - those from Russia, Poland, and Germany, who were nearly exterminated in the Holocaust - have been consistently found by intelligence researchers to have the highest IQ in the world.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Engle on October 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Nicholas Wade has articulated the role of genes in human history brilliantly. And the scientific community, certain that only THEY are qualified to examine such a touchy subject, are furious at him for doing so.

Wade tells how the original, founding group of what later became known as human beings, hunter-gatherers in sub-Saharan Africa, slowly, over many centuries, began to disperse out of the "Dark Continent," to the Middle East, East Asia, northern Europe, and other places on the globe. He describes, in a fascinating style, how these various groups over time evolved into separate races: Caucasian; East Asian; and African. He also suggests the existence of sub-races: Native Americans, Indians, and the native people of Australia.

Wade utilized research material from various scientists, geneticists, and others, in building his book. Now many of those scientists -- and the liberal reviewers who share their views about race -- are sending letters and writing reviews, insisting that Wade is misinterpreting the results of their research, that he has twisted some of the research to suit his own ideological views, yadda, yadda.

In reply, Wade has told those high muckety-mucks of the subject of "race" among residents of Earth, that he is right, and that they know he is, but that they are scrambling frantically to disassociate themselves from him and his book for fear of being called "racist."

I suspect that most "people on the street" who read this book, agreed with its premise. I know I did. We may not have doctorates in the various fields of science, etc., but we have common sense.
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