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The Gene: An Intimate History Hardcover – Illustrated, May 17, 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,851 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of May 2016: In 2010, Siddhartha Mukherjee was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Emperor of All Maladies, a “biography” of cancer. Here, he follows up with a biography of the gene—and The Gene is just as informative, wise, and well-written as that first book. Mukherjee opens with a survey of how the gene first came to be conceptualized and understood, taking us through the thoughts of Aristotle, Darwin, Mendel, Thomas Morgan, and others; he finishes the section with a look at the case of Carrie Buck (to whom the book is dedicated), who eventually was sterilized in 1927 in a famous American eugenics case. Carrie Buck’s sterilization comes as a warning that informs the rest of the book. This is what can happen when we start tinkering with this most personal science and misunderstand the ethical implications of those tinkerings. Through the rest of The Gene, Mukherjee clearly and skillfully illustrates how the science has grown so much more advanced and complicated since the 1920s—we are developing the capacity to directly manipulate the human genome—and how the ethical questions have also grown much more complicated. We could ask for no wiser, more fascinating and talented writer to guide us into the future of our human heredity than Siddhartha Mukherjee. --Chris Schluep

Review

"This is perhaps the greatest detective story ever told—a millennia-long search, led by a thousand explorers, from Aristotle to Mendel to Francis Collins, for the question marks at the center of every living cell. Like The Emperor of All Maladies, The Gene is prodigious, sweeping, and ultimately transcendent. If you’re interested in what it means to be human, today and in the tomorrows to come, you must read this book." -- Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See

"The Gene is a magnificent synthesis of the science of life, and forces all to confront the essence of that science as well as the ethical and philosophical challenges to our conception of what constitutes being human." -- Paul Berg, winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

"Compelling... Highly recommended.", Booklist, starred review

“Sobering, humbling, and extraordinarily rich reading from a wise and gifted writer who sees how far we have come—but how much farther far we have to go to understand our human nature and destiny.”, Kirkus, starred review

"Mukherjee deftly relates the basic scientific facts about the way genes are believed to function, while making clear the aspects of genetics that remain unknown. He offers insight into both the scientific process and the sociology of science... By relating familial information, Mukherjee grounds the abstract in the personal to add power and poignancy to his excellent narrative.", Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A magisterial account of how human minds have laboriously, ingeniously picked apart what makes us tick. . . . [The Gene] will confirm [Mukherjee] as our era’s preeminent popular historian of medicine. The Gene boats an even more ambitious sweep of human endeavor than its predecessor. . . . Mukherjee punctuates his encyclopedic investigations of collective and individual heritability, and our closing in on the genetic technologies that will transform how we will shape our own genome, with evocative personal anecdotes, deft literary allusions, wonderfully apt metaphors, and an irrepressible intellectual brio.”, Ben Dickinson, Elle

“Magnificent…. The story [of the gene] has been told, piecemeal, in different ways, but never before with the scope and grandeur that Siddhartha Mukherjee brings to his new history… he views his subject panoptically, from a great and clarifying height, yet also intimately.”, James Gleick, New York Times Book Review

“Many of the same qualities that made The Emperor of All Maladies so pleasurable are in full bloom in The Gene. The book is compassionate, tautly synthesized, packed with unfamiliar details about familiar people.”, Jennifer Senior, The New York Times

“Mukherjee’s visceral and thought-provoking descriptions... clearly show what he is capable of, both as a writer and as a thinker.”, Matthew Cobb, Nature

“His topic is compelling. . . . And it couldn’t have come at a better time.”, Courtney Humphries, Boston Globe

Product details

  • Item Weight : 2 pounds
  • Hardcover : 608 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1476733503
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1476733500
  • Product Dimensions : 6.13 x 1.6 x 9.25 inches
  • Publisher : Scribner; Illustrated Edition (May 17, 2016)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 1,851 ratings

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
1,851 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 28, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on May 17, 2016
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Top reviews from other countries

Dr. Hasmukh Ajitray Buch
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that broadens your vision...
Reviewed in India on June 21, 2016
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84 people found this helpful
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M. Hillmann
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive history of the gene - powerful evaluation of the future.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 10, 2017
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16 people found this helpful
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Clare
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of the history of genetic research
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 27, 2017
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7 people found this helpful
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norwich
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 10, 2019
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3 people found this helpful
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Professor Brian D Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite, quite marvellous
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2016
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