If you are thinking of buying this book, please note the word “History” in the title. If you are looking for a history book on genetics, heritability and the human understanding of these things, this is a great book. If you are interested in deep technical descriptions or in understanding the latest in gene editing technology, this is not the right book.
The great aspect of the book is that it weaves together and conceptualizes all the bits of genetics we remember from high school biology and various articles and books we have read over the decades. The author is very good at this. The book can give you an excellent basic understanding of the topic.
1. The author attempts to weave personal family stories into the book and relate them to genetics. The stories are not interesting and are not tied into the narrative well. Fortunately, it is very easy to skip these sections. You lose nothing in your understanding if you just skip them.
2. Every time a sensitive topic comes up like eugenics, the author puts in a great deal of effort in virtue signaling about being on the right side of the topic. The endless condemning of Nazis is not really necessary. We kind of assume the author is not an admirer of Nazis. The author goes into a long straw man argument attempting to debunk “The Bell Curve” and then restates the primary thesis of the book as established fact. It looked like he had never read the book, but needed to condemn it so he could stay in academic good graces.
3. The later parts of the book fall short as the author gets into very recent technology. The early historical narratives are excellent. The later chapters lack quality and clarity.
All in all, a very worthwhile book and I have not seen anything that would provide a better history. Read the book, just be aware that there are flaws.
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