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on 2 April 2000
The desperate state of the world seems to call for some kind of new vision, and that is what is forthcoming from this unusual biologist, who approaches even the most metaphysical of problems from the standpoint of the open-minded, inquisitive scientist. He begins by gradually, soberly and very convincingly building up a scientific definition of evil, as, essentially, that which is out of balance, be that too much of something or too little. What he then proceeds to do is to turn many of our preconceptions about nature and ourselves upside down with argument and concrete evidence, and to suggest an interpretation of the world and our place in it which is courageously unfashionable and which also rings true. There may not be much hope expressed in this book, but what little there is is well-founded hope, and feels profoundly reassuring compared to the waterfalls of sentimental gook to which we are treated by the mass media promoting the making of money out of the "environment".
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on 2 December 2002
Published in 1995 in the shadow of the Bulger and West murder trials, this book is Lyall Watson's attempt to find a 'natural history of evil' - in other words, to explain the existence of 'evil' in terms of biology. Along the way it refers to natural selection, the survivial strategies genes adopt in terms of human behaviour and a long look at the psychology of 'abnormal' behaviours.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, it becomes confusing - and despite having read it several times over the last 7 years, I can't quite see where the exploration ultimately leads.
The book is certainly 'interesting' in the way that all of Lyall Watson's books are; but for once he's abandoned his usual optimistic style [no doubt appropriately, considering the material he's writing about] and it all becomes rather depressing well before the end. Not Dr. Watson's best, by any means
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on 10 December 2010
Watson was a genius. And this exploration in to evil, and whether or not it has some deep-seated biological roots, is absolutely fascinating.

Watson's no-nonsense, conversational approach to translating the esoteric in to easily undertandable terms makes this an engrossing piece of work. If you're interested in things that can't be seen under a microscope but which nevertheless shape the world around you; sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, give this book a try.

You won't be disappointed.
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on 19 September 1999
A brilliant book, both intelluctual and entertaining. Suits both scientist/ecologist and casual coffee table book readers alike. I was stunned by how easy it was to pick up and read...I'll definitely be buying more of his books.
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on 24 September 2014
Excellent read
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on 30 October 2014
no comment
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