Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Double Helix

Here's the first title from Tim Radford's trio of selections for best science book - Jim Watson's Double Helix.

Must be a candidate in terms of impact, musn't it? The opening sentence is being quoted around the place at the moment in connection with Matt Ridley's excellent new biography of Francis Crick. (OK, I'm assuming it is excellent as I haven't read it, but he spoke very engagingly about Crick in London last week.)

Still lots of questions to ask about Watson's memoir/non-fiction novel, or whatever we decide to call it, after all this time. Does it draw people to science or put them off, for example? Why was it such a success? Why is the sequel so unreadable?

If you've never read the book - a minority of those who read this, I imagine - someone with a name quite like mine seems to have reviewed it briefly here on the Wellcome Trust's genome website. Friedberg's The Writing Life of James D Watson is also q. interesting for background, if you can get hold of it.

Anyhow, it is a good read, and influential. Best science book ever? We'll see.


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