A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes

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9780297609377: A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived: The Stories in Our Genes

In every one of our genomes we each carry the history of our species—births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away—until now, with the invention of genomics, a tool that lets scientists decode our DNA. The implications for our identity are enormous. As acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford shows, before genomics, we never really knew much about ourselves at all. And so he rewrites all of human history—from 100,000 years ago to the present, and on topics as wide-ranging as Neanderthals and murder, redheads and race, dead kings and plague, evolution and epigenetics—using genetics to shatter deeply held beliefs about our heritage, and to replace them with new answers to some of the biggest questions of all: Who we are, and how we came to be.
 

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About the Author:

Adam Rutherford is a science writer and broadcaster. He studied genetics at University College London, and during his PhD on the developing eye, he was part of a team that identified the first genetic cause of a form of childhood blindness. He has written and presented many award-winning series and programs for the BBC, including the flagship weekly Radio 4 program Inside Science, The Cell for BBC Four, and Playing God (on the rise of synthetic biology) for the leading science series Horizon, as well as writing for the science pages of the Guardian. His first book, Creation, on the origin of life and synthetic biology, was published in 2013 to outstanding reviews and was short-listed for the Wellcome Trust Prize.

Review:

“Rutherford raises significant questions and explains complex topics well, engaging readers with humor and smooth prose.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“An enthusiastic history of mankind in which DNA plays a far greater role than the traditional ‘bones and stones’ approach, followed by a hopeful if cautionary account of what the recent revolution in genomics foretells. . . . Often quirky but thoughtful—solid popular science.”—Kirkus

Praise for the UK edition:
 
“A brilliant, authoritative, surprising, captivating introduction to human genetics. If you know little about the human story, you will be spellbound. If you know a lot about the human story, you’ll be spellbound. It’s that good.”—Brian Cox

“Rutherford takes off on an extraordinary adventure, following the wandering trail of DNA across the globe and back in time. And on the way, he reveals what DNA can—and can’t—tell us about ourselves, our history and our deep evolutionary heritage. . . . From the Neanderthals to the Vikings, from the Queen of Sheba to Richard III, Rutherford goes in search of our ancestors, tracing the genetic clues deep into the past. . . . Wide-ranging, witty, full of surprises and studded with sparkling insights—Rutherford uncovers the epic history of the human species, written in DNA.”—Alice Roberts

“Adam Rutherford’s book is well-written, stimulating, and entertaining. What’s more important, he consistently gets it right.”
Richard Dawkins

“This book is a captivating delight. With witty, authoritative and profound prose, Adam Rutherford tackles the biggest of issues—where we came from, and what makes us who we are. He does more than any author to cut through the confusion around genetics, and to reveal what modern genetics has to say about our identity, history, and future.”—Ed Yong

“Genetics is opening up the past as never before—Adam Rutherford puts the genes in genealogy brilliantly.”
Matt Ridley

“Magisterial, informative, and delightful.”—Peter Frankopan

“A revelatory and important exploration into the ties that bind us—all seven billion of us—together. I really was enthralled.”
Sunjeev Sahota, author of The Year of the Runaways

“This scintillating tour of the latest genetic discoveries blurs the boundaries between science and history, encompassing Neanderthal discoveries, microbiology, the possible extinction of redheads, dead royals, race relations, criminology, evolution, and eugenics. Our genomes, says writer and broadcaster Rutherford winningly, should be read less like instruction manuals, and more like epic poems.”—The Bookseller

“This book is a wonderfully readable example of a recent genre, where a gifted and expert writer takes the ten main concepts and the 30 top scientific papers about a topic and melds them into a detailed and enlightening description of the history and impact of an entire field of knowledge. . . . The first part covers prehistory, the second the impact on our understanding of ourselves. Rutherford has an easy way of describing complex processes, coupled with a love of a telling number or statistic.”
Chris PomeryWho Do You Think You Are magazine

“Fifteen years ago, the first sequence and analysis of the human genome was published. A monumental surge in genetics followed. Science writer and broadcaster Adam Rutherford rides that tide and traces its effects, first focusing on how genetics has enriched, and in some cases upset, our understanding of human evolution, then examining the revelations of recent findings, such as deep flaws in the concept of race. . . . Rutherford unpeels the science with elegance.”—Nature

“This elegant, informed account . . . is no bombastic view of a world transformed by modern genetics . . . it is Rutherford’s aim to bring some realism to the subject without losing a sense of wonder about the new biological visions being opened up . . . For Rutherford, modern genetics has far less to say about us as individuals than we have been led to believe. On the other hand, it sheds a great deal of light on us as a species. Demonstrating these divergent concepts is not easy. Happily, Rutherford is up to the task. He has produced a thoroughly entertaining history of Homo sapiens and its DNA in a manner that displays popular science writing at its best.”—Robin McKie, Observer

“Science books can sometimes be rather stuffy or prissy—but no one can accuse Adam Rutherford of this. In his exploration of ‘the stories in our genes’ that word stories is foremost—and Rutherford proves himself time and again to be an accomplished storyteller. . . . I love the many meanders that Rutherford takes along the way, whether it’s the horrendously inbred family tree of the Hapsburgs resulting in the sad case of Charles II, or the unique genetic laboratory provided by the small and relatively isolated population of Iceland. Rutherford is at his best when exploring an apparently trivial but genuinely interesting topic like variations in earwax type. This is dependent on a single gene and his exploration of its distribution across the world is delightful. . . . A magnificent achievement, a big, friendly bear of a book that pummels the reader with delightful stories and no doubt would buy you a drink if it could.”—Brian CleggPopScienceBooks

“Rutherford’s follow-up to his highly regarded first book Creation is an effervescent work, brimming with tales and confounding ideas carried in the ‘epic poem in our cells.’ The myriad storylines will leave you swooning. . . . Rutherford, a trained geneticist, is an enthusiastic guide. He is especially illuminating on the nebulous concept of race, how it both does and doesn’t exist . . . Rutherford has proved himself a commendable historian—one who is determined to illuminate the commonality of Homo sapiens.”—Colin GrantGuardian

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Book Description Orion Publishing Co, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This is a story about you.It is the history of who you are and how you came to be. It is unique to you, as it is to each of the 100 billion modern humans who have ever drawn breath. But it is also our collective story, because in every one of our genomes we each carry the history of our species - births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration and a lot of sex. Since scientists first read the human genome in 2001 it has been subject to all sorts of claims, counterclaims and myths. In fact, as Adam Rutherford explains, our genomes should be read not as instruction manuals, but as epic poems. DNA determines far less than we have been led to believe about us as individuals, but vastly more about us as a species. In this captivating journey through the expanding landscape of genetics, Adam Rutherford reveals what our genes now tell us about history, and what history tells us about our genes. From Neanderthals to murder, from redheads to race, dead kings to plague, evolution to epigenetics, this is a demystifying and illuminating new portrait of who we are and how we came to be. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780297609377

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Book Description Orion Publishing Co, United Kingdom, 2016. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This is a story about you.It is the history of who you are and how you came to be. It is unique to you, as it is to each of the 100 billion modern humans who have ever drawn breath. But it is also our collective story, because in every one of our genomes we each carry the history of our species - births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration and a lot of sex. Since scientists first read the human genome in 2001 it has been subject to all sorts of claims, counterclaims and myths. In fact, as Adam Rutherford explains, our genomes should be read not as instruction manuals, but as epic poems. DNA determines far less than we have been led to believe about us as individuals, but vastly more about us as a species. In this captivating journey through the expanding landscape of genetics, Adam Rutherford reveals what our genes now tell us about history, and what history tells us about our genes. From Neanderthals to murder, from redheads to race, dead kings to plague, evolution to epigenetics, this is a demystifying and illuminating new portrait of who we are and how we came to be. Bookseller Inventory # AAU9780297609377

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