Fair-minded biography brings dark lady into the light,
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This review is from: Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA (Hardcover)
Quite why Nobel Prize winner James D Watson, in his 1968 best seller "The Double Helix", chose to portray Rosalind Franklin as a second rate scientist and a thoroughly unpleasant woman is anybody's guess. Barbara Maddox's biography does nothing to solve the mystery, since, as she demonstrates, the two scientists appear to have been on good terms, personally and professionally, in the years following the discovery of the structure of DNA.
"The Dark Lady of DNA" sets out to uncover the truth about Rosalind Franklin and the result is a well researched and highly readable account of her life from her birth into a well-heeled and well-connected family to her untimely death in 1958.
The woman who emerges from the darkness is a first class scientist with a rich personal life. Although she is best known for her work on DNA, she did important and far reaching research on the structure of coal and, having moved into biochemistry, the structure of viruses. As a person, Franklin was certainly not perfect: she could be prickly and argumentative, but many knew her as a thoughtful, generous and loyal friend.
This is an excellent biography. Maddox has done a good job of explaining the science and its importance to a general readership and has drawn a balanced portrait of this able and complex woman whose posthumous fame is well deserved.