|Oxford University Press|
the guardian Fri 17 October 2008
"A major reason for writing autobiography is to prevent later biographers getting the basic facts of your life wrong. If life has graced you with lots of memorable occasions, merely reporting them correctly and dispassionately will generate a book worth reading." So the scientist most famous as co-discoverer of the structure of DNA gives a blow-by-blow account of his life and views, which is bemusing in its detail and abruptness. Every grade he achieved in every university course is recorded, along with countless accounts of pretty blondes, competitive men and errors - social and scientific - made by himself and others. Despite urging us to "avoid boring people" (in both senses) he does not always succeed, though there is a certain fascination in the bewildering races towards breakthroughs in the "male-dominated dog-eat-dog grind" of science. In typically combative mode he ends with genetics and intelligence, insisting that "wanting to reserve equal powers of reason as some universal heritage of humanity will not be enough to make it so".