Top positive review
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A brief history of men
on 17 February 2004
The author starts off by investigating his paternal ancestry. Anyone with an interest in genealogy should find this very interesting especially as he discovers that his own surname seemed to be descended from one person. With this introduction he leads you into the main subject which is the Y-chromosome. What this book is not is a male version of The Seven Daughters Of Eve. No doubt some people would be interested in such a book and possibly Stephen Oppenheimer's Out Of Eden would be suitable. It is true that some material has appeared elsewhere - it seems no popular book on genetics is complete without a description of the Sickle Cell Anaemia gene. But most of it seemed new to me.
He is always careful to make it readable and avoids losing the reader. Even more so than Matt Ridley. I know some people are suspicious of this as they think that anyone who writes in such a readable way must be a charlatan. But he is professor of Human Genetics at Oxford so he is much more qualified than anyone likely to be reading this book.
The title Adam's Curse relates to how through sexual selection wealth, power and greed are valued at the expense of the natural world. The most controversial idea in the book is that men will be extinct in about 150,000 years because of falling fertility. However that is only a small part of the book and even if it is disproved does not invalidate the rest of the book which is mostly about sex! Er... sex at a genetic level that is.
I'd recommend this to anyone with an interest in genealogy, human genetics and evolution and likes science to be jargon free and written more like a novel than a science book. Do you ever start reading "popular" science books and not finish them? Although this will not go down in history as a classic piece of science literature it deserves 5 stars because you will finish it.