The Seeds of Life
Why cracking the code of human conception took centuries of wild theories, misogynist blunders, and ludicrous mistakes Throughout most of human history, babies were surprises. People knew the basics: men and women had sex, and sometimes babies followed. But beyond that the origins of life were a colossal mystery. The Seeds of Life is the remarkable and rollicking story of how a series of blundering geniuses and brilliant amateurs struggled for two centuries to discover where, exactly, babies come from. Taking a page from investigative thrillers, acclaimed science writer Edward Dolnick looks to these early scientists as if they were detectives hot on the trail of a bedeviling and urgent mystery. These strange searchers included an Italian surgeon using shark teeth to prove that female reproductive organs were not 'failed' male genitalia, and a Catholic priest who designed ingenious miniature pants to prove that frogs required semen to fertilize their eggs.A witty and rousing history of science, The Seeds of Life presents our greatest scientists struggling-against their perceptions, their religious beliefs, and their deep-seated prejudices-to uncover how and where we come from.

The Seeds of Life Details

TitleThe Seeds of Life
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJun 6th, 2017
PublisherBasic Books
ISBN0465082955
ISBN-139780465082957
Number of pages320 pages
Rating
GenreScience, Nonfiction, History, Environment, Nature, Historical, Humor, Funny, Animals

The Seeds of Life Review

  • Kathryn
    June 22, 2017
    A fascinating journey through misogynistic scientists (the author is very apologetic about that, it's sweet) fumbling in the dark to discover just what DOES need to happen for a baby to be created. Mr. Dolnick's sharp wit (and oh, he has some zingers, I had to share his comment about Columbus 'discovering' the clitoris with everyone I know) and his insightful commentary make what could be a dry (or simply patently awful) subject a delight. This book is one of the most entertaining history of sci A fascinating journey through misogynistic scientists (the author is very apologetic about that, it's sweet) fumbling in the dark to discover just what DOES need to happen for a baby to be created. Mr. Dolnick's sharp wit (and oh, he has some zingers, I had to share his comment about Columbus 'discovering' the clitoris with everyone I know) and his insightful commentary make what could be a dry (or simply patently awful) subject a delight. This book is one of the most entertaining history of science books I've read, helped in part by the ridiculous experiments biologists concocted in an attempt to discover the origins of life. (There are, in fact, frogs in pants and I think that's DELIGHTFUL.)
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  • The Irregular Reader
    June 3, 2017
    For the entirety of our existence, we have wondered “where do babies come from?” Yet this question proved to be so incredibly complicated and intricate, that only in the last century and a half have we been able to discover answers with any sort of surety. Seeds of Life examines the scientific pursuit of the origin and continuation of life from the 16th century through the 19th. Scientific giants such as da Vinci, Leeuwenhoek, and Harvey would find themselves stymied by this question. In an age For the entirety of our existence, we have wondered “where do babies come from?” Yet this question proved to be so incredibly complicated and intricate, that only in the last century and a half have we been able to discover answers with any sort of surety. Seeds of Life examines the scientific pursuit of the origin and continuation of life from the 16th century through the 19th. Scientific giants such as da Vinci, Leeuwenhoek, and Harvey would find themselves stymied by this question. In an age of scientific enlightenment and accomplishment, the inability to answer such a seemingly basic question was frustrating to the extreme. The pursuit of this answer led to bitter feuds and rivalries, and at times split the scientific community asunder.Dominick does a great job of bringing this story to life in an engaging and easy to follow way. It is no mean feat to cover such a topic over such a broad time frame, but Dolnick sets the story as a form of detective novel, with various players entering the fray, only to crash on the shoals of an unanswerable question. Dolnick makes the story easy to follow, and adds welcome (and some would say, inevitable) humor to the topic.Folks who enjoy their nonfiction with a dash of humor will enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of Mary Roach (indeed, Bonk is a great follow up to this book), or were entertained by Unmentionable by Therese Oneill, this is a great book for you. Even if you aren’t usually a nonfiction person, this is the perfect book for dipping a toe into the genre. It may not be an explosion-laced extravaganza, but it is an entertaining and fast reading true story. You’re bound to have fun with this book.An advance copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review.
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  • The Irregular Reader
    May 27, 2017
    For the entirety of our existence, we have wondered “where do babies come from?” Yet this question proved to be so incredibly complicated and intricate, that only in the last century and a half have we been able to discover answers with any sort of surety. Seeds of Life examines the scientific pursuit of the origin and continuation of life from the 16th century through the 19th. Scientific giants such as da Vinci, Leeuwenhoek, and Harvey would find themselves stymied by this question. In an age For the entirety of our existence, we have wondered “where do babies come from?” Yet this question proved to be so incredibly complicated and intricate, that only in the last century and a half have we been able to discover answers with any sort of surety. Seeds of Life examines the scientific pursuit of the origin and continuation of life from the 16th century through the 19th. Scientific giants such as da Vinci, Leeuwenhoek, and Harvey would find themselves stymied by this question. In an age of scientific enlightenment and accomplishment, the inability to answer such a seemingly basic question was frustrating to the extreme. The pursuit of this answer led to bitter feuds and rivalries, and at times split the scientific community asunder.Dominick does a great job of bringing this story to life in an engaging and easy to follow way. It is no mean feat to cover such a topic over such a broad time frame, but Dolnick sets the story as a form of detective novel, with various players entering the fray, only to crash on the shoals of an unanswerable question. Dolnick makes the story easy to follow, and adds welcome (and some would say, inevitable) humor to the topic.Folks who enjoy their nonfiction with a dash of humor will enjoy this book. If you’re a fan of Mary Roach (indeed, Bonk is a great follow up to this book), or were entertained by Unmentionable by Therese Oneill, this is a great book for you. Even if you aren’t usually a nonfiction person, this is the perfect book for dipping a toe into the genre. It may not be an explosion-laced extravaganza, but it is an entertaining and fast reading true story. You’re bound to have fun with this book.An advance copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Jim
    June 29, 2017
    The mystery of how babies are born took centuries to unravel. This is the story of all the missteps and harebrained theories develped and discarded along the way, told in a clear and fascinating manner. For example, did you know that people believed for a long time that all future generations of a person, from Eden to the end of time, were created all at once and were carried inside the body, Each one smaller than the next, down to infinate smallness?
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  • PWRL
    June 14, 2017
    O
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