The Inequality of Man
by J. B. D. Haldane

A collection of essays published in 1932 written by a British biologist. The theme that unites the articles is that the scientific approach can shed light on history and current social issues, and that we will suffer unnecessarily until this happens. He demonstrates wide-ranging knowledge of the latest scientific hypotheses and theories as well as familiarity with history, philosophy, literature, and etymology. He writes with wit and clarity. He leans toward socialism because he thinks it is an attempt to use a scientific approach to government and economics, but he admits that he is not an economist and that socialism might not work.

The best essays are "Science and Ethics," "Some Consequences of Materialism," "Physics declares its Independence," and "Biochemistry and Mr. Gandhi." The book ends with an exciting short story involving intrigue, murder, and adventure that rivals the best James Bond stories. It is told in the first person and is so convincing that I wasn't sure it was fiction until I re-read the preface where he explains why he included it in this volume. He said he doesn't plan to write any more fiction and so he included this story here because he will never have enough stories to fill a separate volume of fiction.

Year Read: 1999


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