380 pages, B/w photos
The author has known Watson for decades and has unique access to other scientists involved in the post double helix revolution. He is thus able to provide an intimate view of science in the making and a masterful portrayal of a central figure.
...a vivid portrait of a man who himself is an institution...the book contains many insightful comments and quotations... (Nature, 23 January 2003) "...packed with factual information, anecdotes and gossip about those involved...this book will be a riveting read..." (New Scientist, 15 March 2003) "...to molecular biologists and history of science aficionados, this biography will be both a great pleasure and a great resource..." (Spectator, 8 March 2003) "... McElheny presents the science in this amazing story with effortless lucidity...McElheny has done a good job, producing a warts-and-all portrait..." (The Guardian, 15 March 2003) "...rich in detail, McElheny has done his homework. As a consequence he gives the most insightful account..." (Yorkshire Post Magazine, 27 September 2003) "...McElheny has researched the story of Watson's extraordinary life diligently...and recounted it fairly and with occasional panache..." (The Sunday Telegraph23 March 2003 "...an excellent third-person account in Victor McElenhy's Watson and DNA for its invaluable array of objective character perspectives..." (The Sunday Times, 23 March 2003) '... brings a clear eye to the hard-to-explain combination of Watson's abrasive personality and unremitting achievement.' (Manchester Guardian Weekly, 2 April 2003) '... challenges the simplicity of both the science and the person in ways that make both more real.' (Focus, May 2003) "...a marvellous insight...a fine biography, many years in the making and containing plenty of new material..." (Chemistry in Britain, April 2003) "...McElhwny provides a very full account of Watson's life and scientific contributions..." (Times Higher Educational Supplement, 25 April 2003) "... for those with a predilection for the minutiae of this historical event, McElheny is your only man..." (Irish Times (Dublin), 19 April 2003) "Watson has told his own story, piecemeal, in several books: this one by a veteran newspaperman does it well, and warmly, in one narrative..." (Lancet, 19 April 2003) No 6 in Bestsellers Cambridge list (New Scientist, 26 April 2003) "...there is plenty more in this book to keep you turning the pages..." (British Society for Cell Biology Newsletter, Summer 2003) "...This book puts the discovery of the double helix into context and explains how the effects of the discovery will resonate for many years..." (www relaxwithabook.com 13June 2003) "...there is plenty more in this book to keep you turning the pages..." (British Society for Developmental Biology Newsletter, Summer 2003) '...informative, entertaining, and well-written.' (The Biochemist, 10 July 2003) "...rich in detail, McElheny has done his homework. As a consequence he gives the most insightful account..." (Yorkshire Post Magazine, 27 September 2003) "...without bombarding the non-scientific minded reader with jargon, McElheny makes his subject universally appealing..." (Western Daily Press, 18 October 2003)
Preface. Acknowledgments. Prologue: 19 October 1962. 1. Books and Birds: "Growing Up" in Chicago. 2. Target, The Gene: Bloomington and "Paradise" 3. Stumbling on Gold: Two Smart Alecks in Cambridge. 4. A Beautiful Molecule: Being Believed. 5. Now What? Thrashing Around. 6. Harvard: "Few Dared Call Him to Account". 7. Minifesto and Marriage. 8. "Fresh, Arrogant, Catty, Bratty, and Funny". 9. A Passion for Building: Cold Spring Harbor. 10. "Higher" Cells: Science at Cold Spring Harbor. 11. "Odd Man Out": Recombinant DNA. 12. Genome: "It Is So Obvious". Epilogue: "I'am an Optimist". James Dewey Watson: A Brief Chronology. Interviews by the Author. Notes. Index. About the Author.
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Victor McElheny has covered the revolution in molecular biology for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and Science for nearly four decades. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he started the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships. The author of Insisting on the Impossible, the biography of Edwin Land that the New Scientist called "insightful, exquisitely written," and Physics Today deemed "a major contribution," he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.