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Academic & Professional Books  Evolutionary Biology  Human Evolution & Anthropology

Quest: The Essence of Humanity

By: Charles Pasternak
414 pages, Map, b/w photos, figs
Quest: The Essence of Humanity
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  • Quest: The Essence of Humanity ISBN: 9780470851449 Hardback Jun 2003 Usually dispatched within 4 days
Selected version: £16.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Scientists continually look for the genetic factors that make humans so very different in appearance and behaviour from most animals - the genes that are uniquely human. Biochemist and author Charles Pasternak argues that such genes do not exist, and that it is our desire to quest - for food, shelter, knowledge, wealth, and adventure - together with our unique physical abilities that have controlled our evolution. In this intriguing work of history, philosophy, and popular science, Pasternak uses his extensive biological knowledge to discuss man's nature and achievements, genetic makeup, and evolution.


Illustrations. Foreword. Acknowledgements. 1. Prologue. Part I: Evolution: the genetic basis of quest. 2. Unity and diversity in living organisms. 3. Plants and microbes: the origin of vision. 4. Animals and man: development of human attributes. Part II: Domination: the consequences of human quest. 5. Out of Africa: exploration and expansion. 6. The ladder: adversity and achievement. 7. Civilisation1: towns and temples. 8. Civilisation 2: communication and culture. 9. Technology: war and welfare 10. Religion: belief and dogma. 11. Science: explanation and experimentation. Part III: Controversy: current quest. 12. Tinkering with genes1: GM foods. 13. Tinkering with genes 2: GM people. 14. Extinction or survival of Homo quaerens? 15. Epilogue. Bibliography. Glossary. Index.

Customer Reviews


Charles A. Pasternak is a biochemist and founding Director of the Oxford International Biomedical Centre. His previous academic experience has included research and teaching posts at the universities of Oxford, London (St George's Medical School), Yale and California (UCSD Medical School). While at St George's Medical School, he was founder and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, which he later expanded into the Department of Cellular and Molecular Sciences. Charles Pasternak is acclaimed for his pioneering work in membrane research and is a tireless promoter of international collaboration, working with UNESCO, IUBMB and universities worldwide. He is the author of a number of books and is editor--in--chief of a scientific journal. He has recently turned his attention to communicating scientific subjects to a broader readership. Charles comes from a highly talented family. He is nephew of Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago, and grandson of Leonid Pasternak, the Russian Impressionist painter.

By: Charles Pasternak
414 pages, Map, b/w photos, figs
Media reviews

!I can recommend Quest: The Essence of of the most thought--provoking books to come my way for some time! (The Sunday Telegraph., 20 July 2003) "!fluent, fast--moving!Quest is controversial!which all ambitious works like this one should be!" (New Scientist, 23 August 2003) "!This goal seems rather grandiose. But Pasternak succeeds, and in doing so provides a profusion of facts and good science!" (Times Literary Supplement, 7 November 2003) "!I really enjoyed this book!What impressed me throughout was Parsternak's use of science!" (M2 Best Books, 7 December 2003)

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