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Customer Reviews

This book made me want to write about it.  April 7, 2011

"Life Ascending" is one of the best biology textbooks written for a wide audience that I have ever read. At one level it is a breezy and easy read, filled with clever illustrations that make the underlying, heavy-duty chemistry seem simple. The heart of his approach to "popularizing" science can be seen by reading some of that primary literature, and then reading Lane's non-technical, but precise interpretation. He is a master at distilling detailed, complex and difficult chemical processes into prose that reveals their essence. Finally, this book could have benefited from a glossary. True, Lane defines terms in his narrative but I think a glossary would have made this textbook easier to read.
In conclusion, this textbook is essential reading for anyone who has wondered about our very existence or ever questioned the science underlying evolution!! This book is cheap, useful and offers new information that was very useful for everyone.

LIFE ASCENDING PA : 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


“Original and awe-inspiring . . . an exhilarating tour of some of the most profound and important ideas in biology.”—New Scientist

Excellent and imaginative and, similar to life itself, the book is full of surprises. —Nature

Lane lays out processes of dizzying complexity in smooth, nimble prose. —Kirkus Reviews

The emergence of life itself remains obscure. But as Lane shows with clarity and vigor, fascinating studies on the subject abound. —The New York Times

If Charles Darwin sprang from his grave, I would give him this fine book to bring him up to speed. —Matt Ridley, author of The Red Queen

Where does DNA come from? What is consciousness? How did the eye evolve? Drawing on a treasure trove of new scientific knowledge, Nick Lane expertly reconstructs evolution’s history by describing its ten greatest inventions—from sex and warmth to death—resulting in a stunning account of nature’s ingenuity.

Author Biography

Nick Lane is a biochemist and honorary reader at University College London. His previous book was named an Economist book of the year and was short-listed for the Aventis Science Book Prize. He lives in London.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
The Origin of Lifep. 8
DNAp. 34
Photosynthesisp. 60
The Complex Cellp. 88
Sexp. 118
Movementp. 144
Sightp. 172
Hot Bloodp. 205
Consciousnessp. 232
Deathp. 260
Epiloguep. 286
Notesp. 288
List of Illustrationsp. 307
Acknowledgementsp. 310
Bibliographyp. 313
Indexp. 327
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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