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The Triumph of the Embryo Paperback – 1 Dec 2008

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc. (1 Dec. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486469298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486469294
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,072,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Lewis Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine, University College, London. He is the author of The Triumph of the Embryo and coauthors of A Passion for Science.


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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is 20 years old, which in terms of genetic research is quite a long time ago. Whilst a fairly good writer, I didn't think Wolpert had been edited very expertly here. For an introduction to a complex subject I felt the explanations veered between the very complex and the oversimplified, and the book suffered a bit from repitition and poor structure. Fascinating subject however.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x98289ab0) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97f1e234) out of 5 stars Very good layman's book on embryology 23 Feb. 2005
By Christopher Doherty - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a short, easily read, and absolutely riveting book. I was overjoyed to find this book at a college library. I've long wanted to learn more about embryology but had found it impossible to find a book written for the layman. I figured this should be an interesting subject for the common reader (like myself), but all I could find were dry cursory descriptions in bio textbooks--which made no attempt to make embryonic life seem relevant or understandable.

Through this book I've found that embryology is absolutely fascinating. Embryos exist through the most biologically astonishing parts of human (or any animal) life. I can't even begin to relate how many interesting things are in this book. To me the whole book is worth the jaw-dropping description of 'gastrulation', a process I had never heard of. When I looked this up in my anatomy and physiology textbook, it was scarcely (and quite uninterestingly) covered. And yet "it's been said that I claim that gastrulation is, far more than birth, marriage, or death, the one important event in your life", Wolpert says, and I'd say he's right on. Other things like fertilization, DNA, implantation, and the development of body structures are readily explained.

This book seems to presume no prior biological or medical knowledge. I have little scientific background and I followed it well. It is not drily written like textbook, but told more like a narrative. I highly recommend it for the average science reader and for the beginning student of biology.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98131f0c) out of 5 stars Good but not necessarily for the layman 16 Feb. 2009
By Book Reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I don't agree with the hype that this book is "easily read and understood by the layman". I think one needs a basic biological background to understand it. This is a good book if, like me, you had a cursory and very dry introduction to embryology in the past, and wish to fill in the gaps. If you don't have some basic scientific knowledge, forget it.

The writing style, in British English, is at times awkward and clumsy, with attempts at humor that seem rather precious to American ears. Certain key words like 'homeobox' are also casually tossed around several chapters before they are actually defined. The writing level varies rather widely, at graduate biology level in some places while in other areas the discussion was quite simplistic - far too much so, with important points in late emybryonic development, cancer development, and genetic mutation being glossed over or completely left out.

I think the concept of writing a readable embryology text is a good one, and this was a brave attempt - it's certainly better than most of the available dry textbooks on the subject. However, this book struck me as trying too hard to satisfy both the layman and the scientist, and comes up short for both audiences - half of one and six dozen of the other, so to speak.

I would love to see this book expanded to include more detail on the stuff people really want to know - what about human genetic issues and mutations? What about cancer genes? The book also needs a style overhaul to speak at the same level throughout. That being said, it is a mostly an enjoyable book, if embryology is something you like.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x998723d8) out of 5 stars A Fading Golden Oldie 16 Jan. 2011
By Dr. Kenneth P. Nunn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lewis Wolpert is one of the scientific community's great communicators. This book was a classic in promoting public scientific literacy to an earlier generation. It still has much to offer but has faded due to lack of revision and lack of illustration. I think if Lewis Wolpert gave this book 3 days revision and added some of the beautiful pictures available on embryological development at his disposal it would speak again to a new generation. Perhaps he could give it to an aspiring young colleague who he trusts with its revision if he has not the time. I also think he would be kinder as he has aged to former generations of researchers for the ideas that turned out to be incorrect. He has been an absolutely outstanding author preparing the way for the current Evo Devo revolution.
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