Though briefer than some of his earlier tomes, Genesis displays the same razor-sharp intelligence and fascinating theories that Edward O. Wilson is known for. In his new work, Wilson looks at animal societies that exhibit altruism or cooperation to learn more about those qualities in human society. Engrossing and surprising. Recommended By Jill O., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Forming a twenty-first-century statement on Darwinian evolution, one shorn of “religious and political dogma,” Edward O. Wilson offers a bold work of scientific thought and synthesis.
Asserting that religious creeds and philosophical questions can be reduced to purely genetic and evolutionary components, and that the human body and mind have a physical base obedient to the laws of physics and chemistry, Genesis demonstrates that the only way for us to fully understand human behavior is to study the evolutionary histories of nonhuman species. Of these, Wilson demonstrates that at least seventeen — among them the African naked mole rat and the sponge-dwelling shrimp — have been found to have advanced societies based on altruism and cooperation.
Whether writing about midges who “dance about like acrobats” or schools of anchovies who protectively huddle “to appear like a gigantic fish,” or proposing that human society owes a debt of gratitude to “postmenopausal grandmothers” and “childless homosexuals,” Genesis is a pithy yet path-breaking work of evolutionary theory, braiding twenty-first-century scientific theory with the lyrical biological and humanistic observations for which Wilson is known.
"Wilson (On Human Nature), a Pulitzer Prize winner and Harvard evolutionary biologist, addresses what he calls the six 'great transitions of evolution' that led to human society in this ambitious treatise, his 32nd book.... He does an impressive job in this short text of making the nature of the transitions clear." Publishers Weekly
"Arresting.... Deeply informative and provocative." Ray Olson, Booklist
"The acclaimed naturalist delivers a pithy summary of evidence for Darwinian evolution of human behavior.... A magisterial history of social evolution, [and] lucid, concise overview of human evolution that mentions tools and brain power in passing but focuses on the true source of our pre-eminence: the ability to work together." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
About the Author
Edward O. Wilson is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists. The author of more than thirty books, including Half-Earth, The Social Conquest of Earth, The Meaning of Human Existence, and Letters to a Young Scientist, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University. The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he lives with his wife, Irene Wilson, in Lexington, Massachusetts.