"The Gene: An Intimate History" by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Jun 29, 2016

On this edition of ST, we speak with the widely acclaimed science writer, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, who is best known for his landmark book about cancer, "The Emperor of All Maladies." He has a new book out, "The Gene," which he discusses with us today. As was noted of this book in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "Mukherjee deftly relates the basic scientific facts about the way genes are believed to function, while making clear the aspects of genetics that remain unknown. He offers insight into both the scientific process and the sociology of science.... By relating [his own] familial information, Mukherjee grounds the abstract in the personal to add power and poignancy to his excellent narrative." And further, as Abigail Zuger has observed in The New York Times: "[This book is] destined to soar into the firmament of the year's must reads, to win accolades and well-deserved prizes, and to set a new standard for lyrical science writing.... Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee dazzled readers with his Pulitzer-winning 'The Emperor of All Maladies' in 2010. That achievement was evidently just a warm-up for his virtuoso performance in 'The Gene: An Intimate History,' in which he braids science, history, and memoir into an epic with all the range and biblical thunder of 'Paradise Lost'.... Thanks to Dr. Mukherjee's remarkably clear and compelling prose, the reader has a fighting chance of arriving at the story of today's genetic manipulations with an actual understanding of both the immensely complicated science and the even more complicated moral questions."