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Good Reads  Organismal to Molecular Biology  Genetics & Genomics

The Genetic Book of the Dead A Darwinian Reverie

Popular Science Coming Soon
By: Richard Dawkins(Author)
352 pages, 49 colour photos, 121 colour illustrations
The Genetic Book of the Dead
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  • The Genetic Book of the Dead ISBN: 9781804548080 Hardback Oct 2024 Available for pre-order
Price: £24.99
About this book Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

How much do we really know about our past? For centuries, we have yearned to learn more about our ancestors and piece together the story of how we came to be. But language can only record so much. And fossils can be even harder to decipher. We are left groping in the dark, forced to speculate and reconstruct ways of life based on fragments of information.

But what if there was a better way?

In The Genetic Book of the Dead, Richard Dawkins explores the untapped potential of DNA to transform and transcend our understanding of evolution. In the future, a zoologist presented with a hitherto unknown animal will be able to read its body and its genes as detailed descriptions of the world its ancestors inhibited. This 'book of the dead' would uncover the remarkable ways in which animals have overcome obstacles, adapted to their environments and, again and again, developed remarkably similar ways of finding solutions to life's problems.

From the bestselling author of The Selfish Gene comes a revolutionary, vividly illustrated book that unlocks the door to a past more vivid, nuanced and fascinating than anything we have ever seen.

Customer Reviews


Richard Dawkins is one of the world's most eminent writers and thinkers. He is the award-winning author of The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, The God Delusion and a string of other bestselling science books, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Royal Society of Literature. Dawkins lives in Oxford.

Popular Science Coming Soon
By: Richard Dawkins(Author)
352 pages, 49 colour photos, 121 colour illustrations
Media reviews

"Overflowing with the beauty of nature, the beauty of language, and the beauty of ideas."
– Steven Pinker, author of Rationality and Enlightenment Now

"Dazzling in originality and scope, with beautiful illustrations, this is a wonderful celebration of the power of natural selection. Richard Dawkins reveals with brilliant clarity the imprint on organisms of their evolutionary past."
– Nick Davies, author of Cuckoo: Cheating By Nature

"The ingenuity of evolution is infinite, a fact that fascinates Richard Dawkins as much as it fascinated Charles Darwin. Inside each organism he finds rich palimpsests chronicling the history of life itself."
– Matt Ridley, author of The Evolution of Everything and How Innovation Works

"Once again, Richard Dawkins asks us to look at the living world in a totally novel way: Every organism carries, in its genes, a record of the past environments in which its ancestors survived. This brilliant new way of interpreting nature opens our eyes to both the past and the future."
– John R. Krebs, author of Food: A Very Short Introduction and co-author, An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology

"Written with typical verve and panache, Richard Dawkins's The Genetic Book of the Dead makes a brilliant contribution to the public understanding of evolution using our most up-to-date understanding of genetics. It will enthral, surprise, and challenge you. Read it!"
– Jerry A. Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True and Faith Versus Fact

"This book is a summation of the ideas of the author who brought us "memes" and "selfish genes". Richard Dawkins's lucid prose will change the way you think about your evolutionary past."
– David Haig, author of From Darwin to Derrida: Selfish Genes, Social Selves, and the Meanings of Life

"The deployment of the conceit of genes looking backward in time is clever and well done. A piece of vivid popular science."
– Stephen Stearns, co-author of Evolution: An Introduction

"In this stunning book, Richard Dawkins explains how biologists can understand the evolutionary history of organisms by reading their genome and phenotype. These readouts reveal the past lives our ancestors lived while also predicting those of our descendants – well at least those that will be successful. Dawkins is the most accomplished science communicator of the past half century, and this book is a masterpiece of popular science writing. A truly wonderful and inspiring read."
– Tim Coulson, Professor of Zoology, University of Oxford

"Writing with his customary clarity and verve, and with beautiful illustrations, Dawkins takes us on a journey from our ancestor's environments to the way we are today. A great read."
– Dr Susan Blackmore

"Another, and perhaps the most wide-ranging yet, of Richard Dawkins's joyously exuberant expeditions into the staggering complexity of the living world – together with all the past worlds that have led up to it, and the mechanics that this has involved. A celebration – and written with all his wonderful grace and humour, informality, generosity, and personal involvement."
– Michael Frayn

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