At an Augustinian abbey in 1856, Gregor Mendel used pea plants to establish the power of heredity, even as Charles Darwin crafted his own theory of evolution. Inspiring Ken Burns's 2020 documentary, this history by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies charts the quest to decipher the master-code that makes and defines humans. Encompassed here are Aristotle's contributions to the nature/nurture debate, the grim implementation of Nazi eugenics, and the technologies that could enable us to change the fates and identities of our children.
"A well-written, accessible, and entertaining account of one of the most important of all scientific revolutions, one that is destined to have a fundamental impact on the lives of generations to come."—Guardian (London)