A coherent, comprehensive exploration of evolution, genetics, and what it means to be human.




A neuroscientist looks at evolution and the future of Homo sapiens.

Brown (Neuromuscular Function and Disease, 2002, etc.) offers a neurologist’s perspective on human physical and cultural development and offers his conceptions of a future that may result from natural processes and technological innovation. The book begins with a look at the Big Bang and current astronomical evidence of the universe’s development. It then tackles the creation of life, moving from single-celled organisms to hominids and modern humans, tracing their growth from an evolutionary perspective and exploring genetic advances. Subsequent chapters explore some of the more nebulous aspects of humanity’s journey, from art to religion to altruistic behavior. The book concludes with a look at trends and developments in genetic technology that could shape physical and mental attributes of humans and other species in years to come. Brown brings a working scientist’s perspective to his work, offering wry asides (“Like Darwin’s work, Mendel’s was tedious”) and anecdotes from his own years of practice. The book shows thorough research, citing scholarly and popular works with equal ease. At times, though, its arguments rely too heavily on a single source—in particular, speculation about the genetic and neurological roots of traits found among Ashkenazi Jews—and some of Brown’s predictions seem overly optimistic, such as, “With synthetic DNA, humans will probably be capable of creating life from scratch less than a century after Watson and Crick revealed the structure of DNA.” On the whole, though, the book provides a solid synthesis of existing research, bringing together the work of evolutionary biologists, anthropologists, and physiologists to offer a clear explanation of how we became what we are today.

A coherent, comprehensive exploration of evolution, genetics, and what it means to be human.

Pub Date: March 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-7029-5

Page Count: 412

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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