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the Complete Review
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The Language of Genes

Steve Jones

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To purchase The Language of Genes

Title: The Language of Genes
Author: Steve Jones
Genre: Science
Written: 1993
Length: 250 pages
Availability: The Language of Genes - US
The Language of the Genes - UK
The Language of the Genes - Canada
  • Solving the Mysteries of our Genetic Past, Present and Future
  • Based on the 1991 Reith Lectures given by Jones on BBC Radio in 1991.

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Our Assessment:

A- : a good and well-written overview of genetics and its implications

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
New Scientist . 20/11/1993 David Concar
Wall St. Journal A 29/8/1994 Jim Holt

  From the Reviews:
  • "This is one of the most insightful books on genetics to date and certainly the most entertaining." - Jim Holt, Wall Street Journal

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Steve Jones' book is a useful overview of what is currently known about genes, and consequences of this knowledge, now and in the near future. With a fill of anecdotes and examples Jones provides a fascinating tour through the world of genes, a great introduction for the layman.
       Whether in proving Darwin's idea of natural selection correct or showing how misguided almost all racist concepts are, Jones provides a wealth of information. He writes very well, and the book is a good read even for those with only a very limited scientific background.
       A few points among the mass of detail strike us as questionable -- such as the claim that: "In Ireland in 1840 every adult ate around ten pounds of potatoes a day" (we find it hard to believe that most people could consume ten pounds of any foodstuff daily) -- but most of the time Jones is on track. He acknowledges that a great deal still remains unknown, and that we cannot foresee all the possible consequences of how genes work. He also reminds us of the dangers (and benefits) of genetic testing, avoiding the simple moralizing answers in favor of allowing a more complex (and realistic) open-ended debate
       Knowledgeable about history (and literature) as well as science Jones frames the issues very well. A great pleasure to read, and certainly recommended.

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The Language of Genes: Reviews: Steve Jones Other books by Steve Jones under review: Other books under review that might be of interest:

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About the Author:

       Born in 1944, Steve Jones is Professor of Genetics at University College, London. He won the 1997 Royal Faraday Medal for Public Understanding of Science.

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