The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code

Front Cover
Little, Brown, Jul 17, 2012 - Science - 416 pages
15 Reviews
From New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean comes more incredible stories of science, history, language, and music, as told by our own DNA.

In The Disappearing Spoon, bestselling author Sam Kean unlocked the mysteries of the periodic table. In THE VIOLINIST'S THUMB, he explores the wonders of the magical building block of life: DNA.

There are genes to explain crazy cat ladies, why other people have no fingerprints, and why some people survive nuclear bombs. Genes illuminate everything from JFK's bronze skin (it wasn't a tan) to Einstein's genius. They prove that Neanderthals and humans bred thousands of years more recently than any of us would feel comfortable thinking. They can even allow some people, because of the exceptional flexibility of their thumbs and fingers, to become truly singular violinists.

Kean's vibrant storytelling once again makes science entertaining, explaining human history and whimsy while showing how DNA will influence our species' future.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
5
4 stars
9
3 stars
1
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - murderbydeath - LibraryThing

Absolutely excellent read! Very accessible, well-researched, and entertaining. I really appreciate Sam Kean's writing style and I got an awful lot out of this book; even if I knew some of the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MartinBodek - LibraryThing

The only - I repeat the only - silver lining to being taught jack squat when I was in school is that books like these take boring school textbookesque information and refashion it beautifully with ... Read full review

All 15 reviews »

About the author (2012)

Sam Kean is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Disappearing Spoon. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Mental Floss, Slate, and New Scientist, and has been featured on NPR's "Radiolab" and "All Things Considered."

Bibliographic information