In the future, accelerating technology and unexpected, revolutionary events—most of which will never be predicted by...

OUR GRANDCHILDREN REDESIGNED

LIFE IN THE BIOENGINEERED SOCIETY OF THE NEAR FUTURE

An exuberant account of how biotechnology will vastly enhance not only our health, but our physical and mental abilities as well.

This process, writes Bess (History/Vanderbilt Univ.; Choices Under Fire: Moral Dimensions of World War II, 2006, etc.), is already underway, with drugs, bioelectronics, and genetics all playing leading roles. Familiar names like Prozac, Viagra, and Adderall reveal that the progress of drugs has already come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Thought-controlled prostheses and bioelectronic implants for the deaf and blind remain rudimentary, but in the coming years, we should expect to see impressive advances. Although several decades away, the idea of altering the DNA germline to produce a “designer baby” makes most people uncomfortable, but major improvements will happen through epigenetics, through which we can influence gene expression without changing DNA. All these cheerful prognostications occur in the first 70 pages. In the remaining, more thoughtful, text, Bess discusses their implications. Will society consist of “Brave New World” castes of haves (who can afford their enhancements) and deprived have-nots? How many changes can Homo sapiens undergo and remain the same species? What does it mean to lead a good life? All the advancements, writes the author, “can also lead us to gradually lose our bearings on reality itself. The more enthusiastically we give ourselves over to artifice, the more likely we are to drift insensibly out of touch with the planet that sustains us, the body we were born with, and the core relationships of family and community that frame our existence.”

In the future, accelerating technology and unexpected, revolutionary events—most of which will never be predicted by futurists—may produce a society as alien as some of our tools. Bess delivers an insightful philosophical analysis of how we must adjust.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8070-5217-4

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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