Reviews elsewhere on the web:
guardian.co.uk
New Scientist
Brian Switek
The Hindu

Krishna Dronamraju

What I Require From Life

In What I Require From Life: Writings on science and life from J.B.S. Haldane Krishna Dronamraju has chosen a selection of the many articles written by Haldane.

The book is in two parts, the first consisting of articles written for the British Communist paper 'Daily Worker' in the 1940's, the second of articles written after Haldane moved to India in . When one considers what was happening in the Soviet Union at the time, one can't help feeling that Haldane was very naive with his ideas of a Leninist paradise - he did eventually come to see what was wrong with Soviet communism.

Mostly the book demonstrates Haldane's breadth of knowledge. He was a biologist and wrote about topics from many areas of biology such as genetics, how bees communicate, and how we breathe, but he also was highly knowledgable about the rest of the sciences, writing about the planets, the weather and the differential calculus - all aimed at a non-technical audience. Of course the work is somewhat dated now, but it is interesting to see what people thought about the atom bomb and the first man into space when they first happened, and some of the articles seem much more modern than you might expect.

I'd recommend the book both to anyone wanting to find out more about Haldane's life and to those who are interested in what went on in science in the middle of the 20th century.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 231 pages  
ISBN: 0199237700
Salesrank: 2136108
Weight:1.01 lbs
Published: 2009 Oxford University Press
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 272 pages  
ISBN: 0199237700
Salesrank: 1068005
Weight:1.01 lbs
Published: 2009 OUP Oxford
Marketplace::Used from £22.28
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Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 256 pages  
ISBN: 0199237700
Salesrank: 1142225
Weight:1.01 lbs
Published: 2009 Oxford University Press
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 165.98:Used from CDN$ 38.86
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Product Description
J. B. S. Haldane (1892-64) was one of the great scientists--and great science writers--of the 20th century. A polymath who was a central figure in the development of modern evolutionary biology, he was also a highly skilled essayist and an extraordinary character--brilliant, witty, idealistic, funny, and pugnacious.

What I Require From Life brings together Haldane's popular science essays, more than sixty articles that reflect not only his masterful ability to communicate scientific understanding, but also his deep commitment to socialism. Readers will find essays on an exhilarating range of topics--"Is There Life on the Planets?" "Is Man a Machine?" "Why are You Left-handed?" "Overcrowding at the Zoo," "How Bees Communicate," "The Common Cold."

Edited with an introduction by Haldane's last graduate pupil, Krishna Dronamraju, this collection of thought-provoking and beautifully-written pieces also comes with a Preface written by the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke, who calls Haldane "perhaps the most brilliant science popularizer of his generation."