Life Ascending - The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
Profile Books Great Britain 2009
ISBN 978 1 861978189
Typeset in Fournier by MacGuru Ltd which is a readable type but a tad small for my liking.
Paper is matt finish and pleasant.
A small paperback of 344 pages. Gutters too narrow meaning you have to force your way in to read the whole page.
But it is well worth forcing your way into. It is a classic. It is a reference work. It is a must have.
Nick Lane explains how life began and how it made its way to where we are now.
He hangs his story on 10 'great inventions'. These 'inventions' are such things as 'DNA' and 'Movement' so you can see they allow of a fair range of treatment, can encompass much.
Upon this skeleton he is able to hang the whole story of life, educating us as I've seen nothing and no one else ever do.
He makes evolution, the processes of evolution, so obvious, so sensible, so normal and natural and the overall process so complete that you feel a constant part of it by the end. As we are in fact, aren't we?
It is a scholarly work expounding an academic, scientific theme but it reads like a gripping novel. That's because he's a good writer, has good material which he knows extremely well and he because he anthropomorphises his science, as is so common nowadays.
Pick a sample at random: "... where they are held in trust by the molecular 'hustler' NADPH, a strong pusher of elctrons, which wants nothing better than to be rid of them again."
Atoms, molecules, proteins, anything and everything is vitalised and imbued with motivations and desires. It works well, it animates the book, its cast of characters and engraves its message on the mind.
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