- Hardcover: 608 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; 1 edition (17 May 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1476733503
- ISBN-13: 978-1476733500
- Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 4.3 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 200 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #84,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Gene: An Intimate History Hardcover – 17 May 2016
|Hardcover, 17 May 2016||
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"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)
About the Author
Siddhartha Mukherjee is the author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, and The Laws of Medicine. He is the editor of Best Science Writing 2013. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician and researcher. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and Cell. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters. Visit his website at: SiddharthaMukherjee.com
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The author has meticulously avoided technical terms as the book is intended to be for the lay readers. If you are interested in the development and evolution of the subject, this is a book for you; it makes interesting reading. The author’s background has lent authenticity to the contents. He has tried to give justice to every character who contributed significantly: Aristotle, Darwin, Mendel, Morgan, Bateson, Johannsen, Galton, Garrod, Beadle and Tatum, Jacob and Monod, Watson and Crick, Khorana, McKusick, Sanger, Berg, Venter, Gurdon and Yamanaka; it is actually ‘Who is who’ of Genetics. Some new terms like previvors have been introduced and Human Genome project has been discussed in details.
The narrative is so detailed and vivid that we feel that the author was personally present when and where the history (and the future) happened! I enjoyed reading accounts pertaining to Eugenics, BRCA1, Indian counter part of Nazism, sexual identity, Gay gene etc. I tend to agree with the author’s prediction- “The discontinuity of genes-the discreteness and autonomy of each individual unit of heredity-will turn out to be an illusion: genes may yet be more interconnected than we think.” That would be the end of the prevalent reductionist view of the word-Gene.
A clinician is mainly concerned with what can be applied on patients in the clinic. In spite of the tremendous strides that Genetics has taken in recent years, there is not much that can be offered to the needy patients as far as the curative treatment is concerned; this is particularly true for the mental ailments (the author with several members of his family suffering from such disorders knows about this more intimately than anyone else) and the cancers. Some of the advancements are rightly facing political, social and ethical hurdles. If researches on the stem cell and gene therapy are approved wholeheartedly in due course of time, we may see more practically beneficial genetics which not only satisfy curiosity but also cures. Human Genome project has been rightly proved to be just the beginning in this direction; we are now eagerly awaiting the outcomes of Human Epigenome project and Encode. This is a book that broadens your vision whatever your background may be.
What makes the book so outstanding is the interesting manner and the arresting narrative with which the whole story of the gene is laid bare before the mesmerized reader with fascinating details about the personal lives of Mendel, Darwin and all other luminaries who have been involved in their scientific endeavours in unravelling the mystery of the gene right from the beginning till date, their obsessions, devotion, dedication, foibles, failures, jealousies, the politics and so on.
Having been a zoologist myself – though not a great one! – I could strike an instant chord with the book and had it fill many gaping voids in my understanding of the gene.
Subhash Sharma, Palampur, Kangra HP
I had lost touch with biology after college and this put me up to date. Yet to read the last part. As a school student both Mendel and Mendeleev were my heroes. I read about genetics in XIth. I think with the central role the gene is playing today it ought to be taught to high schoolers.
The book is exciting and reads more like a passionate person taking you on a mountain trek while describing the significance of each stone along the way. The author also spins his own life story of a family affected by bipolar and Schizophrenia across generations.
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