James D. Watson is a controversial figure, with his strong support for gene therapy and genetic modification of plants and animals , and a greater belief in genetic determinism than most geneticists. A Passion for DNA
allows the reader to see some of the reasoning behind Watson's beliefs. The book is a collection of essays written by Watson at various times between 1966 and 1999, and we see how he feels that worries about Recombinant DNA were politically stirred up, with no real evidence of danger. He also writes about his views on the ethos of science, on the different approaches to the 'War on Cancer' and on the implication of the Human Genome project.
The book starts off with various autobiographical essays, looking at the background to the discovery of the double helix and what followed it. I felt that these had quite a bit of jargon - more suited for those who are involved in molecular biology. However, these are followed by essays which are more suited for the general reader, with some of them being based on talks which he has given. I felt that the book gives an better insight into Watson as a person than some of the other books he has written - showing in particular his favour of individual choice and his dislike of state control.