Cathy Douglas's Reviews > Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species

Remarkable Creatures by Sean B. Carroll
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's review
Feb 21, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: science-nonfiction
Read in July, 2009

A good book that could be better. The first 3/4 or so makes very good reading, with the kind of details about the people involved that keep good popular science books interesting to lay readers. There was a lot of familiar material in these chapters, but I found enough that was new and some lively storytelling to keep me going.

Unaccountably, the writing degrades as Dr. Carroll gets closer to our own time and his areas of expertise -- interpreting genetic and other information at the cellular level to expand our understanding of evolution. What Dr. Carroll and others are doing in this area is revolutionary, bringing huge amounts of information to light that could never be gleaned from fossilized bones and leaves. But this part of the book is short, overly generalized, less personal than the other chapters, and written with a lack of clarity.

Maybe, knowing as much about the subject as Dr. Carroll does, it's harder for him to get the distance he needs for a book of this scope. Evolution is, after all, a huge subject. I would like to see him write another book in five or ten years that picks up where this one leaves off.

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06/07/2009 page 76
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