Talking about this book? Be sure to tag it using #ADominantCharacter #NetGalley
The bold and brilliant biography of maverick British scientist J.B.S. Haldane, one of the twentieth-century's greatest thinkers, by an award-wining author.
J.B.S. Haldane's life was rich and strange, never short on genius, never lacking for drama. He is best remembered as a geneticist who revolutionized our understanding of evolution, but his peers thought him a polymath; one student called him 'the last man who knew all there was to be known'.
Beginning in the 1930s, Haldane was also a staunch Communist - a stance that enhanced his public profile, led him into trouble, and even drew suspicions that he was spying for the Soviets. He wrote copiously on science and politics for the layman, in newspapers and magazines, and he gave speeches in town halls and on the radio, all of which made him, in his day, as famous in Britain as Einstein. Arthur C. Clarke called Haldane 'the most brilliant science popularizer of his generation'. He frequently narrated aspects of his life: of his childhood, as the son of a famous scientist; of his time in the trenches in the First World War and in Spain during the Civil War; of his experiments upon himself; of his secret research for the British Admiralty; of his final move to India, in 1957.
A Dominant Character unpacks Haldane's boisterous life in detail, and it examines the questions he raised about the intersections of genetics and politics - questions that resonate all the more strongly today.
'A wonderful book about one of the most important, brilliant and flawed scientists of the 20th century - that explains much not only about J.B.S. Haldane but about the complex times he lived in.' - Peter Frankopan, bestselling author of THE SILK ROADS
'The 20th century British geneticist J.B.S. Haldane remains one of the most influential scientists of modern times. And this remarkable biography by Samanth Subramanian, which brings to life Haldane at his brilliant, unpredictable, outspoken, visionary best, will make you see exactly why his light still shines so brightly today.' - Deborah Blum, Pulitzer-prize winning author of THE POISON SQUAD
'A wholly delightful, even brilliant, exploration of the scientific mind. Subramanian brings alive J.B.S. Haldane's rollicking, unbelievable life journey from privileged English childhood to Indian asylum. He writes with grace and confidence about both the science and the man, a "Darwinian preacher" whose life explains why scientists in our age of artificial intelligence and revolutionary genetics need to think politically. A Dominant Character is a captivating story of prickly genius, sexual scandal, and radical politics.' - Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning co-author of AMERICAN PROMETHEUS
'A marvellous, comprehensive, and entertaining biography of J.B.S. Haldane, who made major contributions to many fields. His biggest impact was on evolutionary biology, as a major founder of the theory of population genetics. Subramanian has done impressive research on Haldane's background, scientific contributions, and political controversies - this will be the definitive work on his life from now on.' - Joe Felsenstein, Professor Emeritus of Genome Sciences and of Biology, University of Washington