Books by Colin Tudge

COLIN TUDGE is a three-time winner of the Glaxo/ABSW Science Writer of the Year Award. His career as a science writer includes serving as Features Editor at New Scientist , his own science program, Spectrum, on BBC Radio and freelance writing for The Inde


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Released: Oct. 20, 2009

"Entertaining, charming and knowledgeable."
A serious exploration of bird life from biologist Tudge (Feeding People Is Easy, 2007, etc.). Read full book review >
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Released: Oct. 3, 2006

"Few books are as relevant for our time as is this one."
A tree-hugger extraordinaire offers myriad compelling reasons to admire, revere and—yes—hug the nearest trunk. Read full book review >
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Released: July 1, 2001

"An engaging and comprehensive analysis of genetic theory with occasional lapses into technophobia."
A sprawling exploration of genetic theory, as traced from Gregor Mendel's ideas of heredity and Charles Darwin's concept of evolution to today's biotechnologies. Read full book review >
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Released: June 1, 2000

"An important book and impressive piece of science writing."
When Dolly, the cloned sheep, met the media in 1997, she unleashed a torrent of headlines, articles, editorials, and at least one book (Clone ,by Gina Kolata). Another after three years seems superfluous, but it's the one to read. Read full book review >
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Released: Feb. 1, 1996

A world survey course with a message: Change your attitude if you want Homo sapiens to survive another million years. Tudge (The Engineer in the Garden, p. 69, etc.) is an English science writer and broadcaster who soaks up data like a Pentium chip and is eager to disgorge all for the lay reader. The result is an encyclopedic volume that encompasses geology, meteorology, paleontology, taxonomy, and ecology, concluding with some predictions for the future. His basic thesis is that the human lot began to be cast not when written history began, some 10,000 years ago, but through millennia of prehistory, when fully modern humans and the basis of human culture (tool-making, agriculture, etc.) existed, and earlier: The moderns, in turn, were the product of evolutionary changes dating to the ape-hominid split five million years ago. You know from the start his heart is in the right place when he refers to historian of science Misia Landau's observation that much of what is purported to be objective human science smacks of myths that glorify human achievement. Bearing that in mind, Tudge's early chapters emphasize the role of earth forces and weather in moving continents, in creating mountains, in forcing migrations, or causing major die-offs as asteroids hit. Later chapters fairly present rival theories of human evolution, with Tudge offering his own spin in the form of successive ``out of Africa'' migrations. A recurrent theme is the role humankind now plays in Earth's destiny, whether through CFCs in the atmosphere or the deliberate or inadvertent destruction of species. Only recognition of what is at risk and a change in attitude will rectify the situation, argues Tudge, in an admittedly not very hopeful stance. Tudge's zeal to explain in detail and present mountains of evidence will try the reader who may wonder if this isn't a text with quizzes to follow. All in all, however, this is sound science supporting a point of view that deserves to be heeded. (line drawings, not seen) Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: March 1, 1995

An ambitious and evenhanded meditation on the science of genetics, its potential, and its ethical implications. Arguing that we must know where we came from to understand where we are going, British science journalist Tudge (Future Food, 1980) summarizes the history of genetics, starting with a somewhat dry and dutiful primer on evolution and molecular biology. While he clearly connects the dots between Darwin, Mendel, and Watson and Crick, the material will be rough going for a lay reader. More satisfying are later sections on cloning, the Human Genome Project, and genetic engineering. Tudge provides a thorough overview of the field but is more interested in science than technology, giving less space to recombinant crops and livestock improvement than to issues of genetic diversity and species conservation. Indeed, he is at his best describing animals, and well-drawn examples—from the mating practices of the funnel-web spider to the selective nursing habits of red deer—provide the book's liveliest moments. Also intriguing are meditations on polygamy versus monogamy in the natural world, the inefficiency of sexual reproduction, why we will never evolve into superhumans, and why the notion of a Jurassic Park is remotely plausible but ultimately flawed. These accessible musings locate genetics issues in a more familiar context, to which the author adds his own humanistic and theological perspectives. Tudge believes science and scientific literacy can make a better world. But, as the book forcefully demonstrates, there are aspects of evolution, both human and technological, that cannot be controlled; hence, Tudge argues for restraints on a technology that he feels society is not ready for. A challenging work that's worth reading, but requires patience. Read full book review >