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Excellent book mangled by poor digital transfer
on 14 June 2017
This is an excellent book. Nick Lane is a consummate communicator who manages to (mostly) demystify the most esoteric and obscure ideas in biochemistry and evolution. It is full of difficult and often controversial concepts but he manages to strike a good balance between writing for the lay reader and drawing the reader's attention to the scientific disagreements while still justifying his own view of the evidence. He also includes quotes and anecdotes from a wide range of scientific and non-scientific authors that, all in all, adds to the general feeling of erudition as well as injecting some humour into what could a very dry subject. Having said that, however, the from print to the Kindle edition suffers from some appalling and distracting errors. To give a few examples: almost every apostrophe is preceded by a space; many hyphens betray the existence of line breaks in the printed edition which are absent in the digital edition. Worst of all is the haphazard linking of footnotes in the text; the first few chapters are largely accurate but then it breaks down with some non-existent links and some links pointing to completely the wrong footnote. This is such a shame as it spoils the enjoyment and smooth flow of is otherwise an extraordinarily well written and researched book.