Richard Williams's Reviews > Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization

Pandora's Seed by Spencer Wells
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's review
Sep 25, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: library
Read in September, 2010

i like the author's writing and the work he is doing in human genetics, i'm not so sure about this book however. it's a bit odd and disorganized.

he has a really good idea. how has the genetics of human beings, shaped by nearly 200K years of evolution as a small group hunter-gatherer been changed by the neolithic revolution (growing plants and raising animals) of about 10k years? he looks at hypertension, obesity, diabetes then animal viruses, then religion.

the problem is unity around a big theme, or how the bits and pieces join together to tell a coherent story. as is the books is more like a broken pearl necklace, bits of interesting trivia without the connecting string through them.

the book could do with a rewrite paying careful attention to how each section supports and elaborates on the central theme. how is the genetics of human beings being subverted by a new way of living? or how what we are is in conflict with how we live.

it's an important issue and deserves the best possible study and presentation. it's an interesting and gripping book, hence i finished it, eager to learn more but disappointed with what i was unable to build in an organized re-memorable way after reading it. a shame but i suspect the author has lots more to say and i look forward to reading more from him.

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