Top positive review
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Absolutely bunged with information
on 8 August 2013
As an introductory short read this book absolutely excels, it is absolutely bunged with information and interesting information at that, the pace is consistently interesting and engaging without any dull chapters, neither is there any jargon or "pitch shifting" in terms of the style of writing either. I believe this book will be read by the interested general reader and student or research alike.
The book has no index but it does have comprehensive endnotes for each chapter, a contents which is pretty clear and chapters which closely reflect the chapter headings. The chapters are structured into blocks of text, with boxes which provide more specific topical information, there are illustrations, ie cartoons and pictures, the first page of each chapter has a quotation or citation to spur on the interest of the reader. The book has a 100 ideas section at the end of the book, typical of the series, which includes 20 suggestions for further reading, 10 landmark court decisions, 10 literary works, 10 films, 10 best websites, 10 think tanks and activist organisations, 10 key concepts (I liked this list in particular: Justice; Property rights in the body; exploitation and vulnerability; genetic patentability; biological determinism; the genetic mystique/genetic exceptionalism; killing and letting die; autonomy; the genetic commons; the moral and legal status of the embryo or fetus), 10 key thinkers and 10 people and groups who shaped their field for better or worse.
This book deals with what are current ethical and social issues, such as the selling of genetic matter by surogate parents, but also the ways in which these are precidents legally and ethically for what is yet to come and deals with some of the discussion around things such as "body shopping" or the possibility of "transhumans", a bit of a sci fi and cyberpunk idea still, or body modifications which could render unmodified individuals "lesser mortals".
The whole "frankenstein's monster" conceptualisation of "mad science" has sort of slipped from the human psyche or been overshadowed by the "religious fanatic" as the most troubling and preoccupying of archetypical villains but there is plenty in this book which should provide food for thought about what seemingly limitless innovations and discovery could or should mean for what it is to be human. This is a book I can recommend because it deals with important issues that I think everyone should be thinking about and discussing but which seldom seem to be reported, even as sensationalism, but it is also very readable, a great book to take on a short break and which wont take more than two or three days to read at most.