September 13, 2004
River Out of Eden by Richard Dawkins
This is a short and precise book. It's greatest asset is that it does not stray too far from its point. A good first book on genetics and its relation to evolution.
Dawkins is not uniformly good in his analogies and explanations in this book and sometimes he goes off on a tangent unrelated to his main point, but the writing bears the mark of an accomplished science writer. Dawkins has published several other notable books on evolution including "The Selfish Gene" and "The Blind Watchmaker". However, if you're looking to read Dawkins for the first time, this is a good book to evaluate his talents.
Famous biological facts about various species are usefully collected in one place here, for example, the complex mechanisms of communication among honeybees which are the among the canonical examples of complex universal language behaviour in a species other than humans.
Dawkins also spends time in the last chapter about how self-replication might arise and develop in complexity without considering details of how they occurred on Earth and thus speculating about how life might arise on other extrasolar planets.
If you have read other books by Dawkins on the subject, this book might have little new to offer other than a quick and entertaining read and the comforting thought that good science writing is not dead yet.
%T River Out of Eden %T :a Darwinian View of Life %A Richard Dawkins %I BasicBooks %D 1995 %G ISBN: 0465069908 (pb) %G ISBN: 0465016065 (hc) %P 172 %K science, genetics, evolution
Review written: 1999/09/24Posted by anoop at September 13, 2004 10:28 AM