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Publisher's Summary

A biography of J. B. S. Haldane, the brilliant and eccentric British scientist whose innovative predictions inspired Aldous Huxley's Brave New World.  

J. B. S. Haldane's life was rich and strange, never short on genius or drama - from his boyhood apprenticeship to his scientist father, who first instilled in him a devotion to the scientific method; to his time in the trenches during the First World War, where he wrote his first scientific paper; to his numerous experiments on himself, including inhaling dangerous levels of carbon dioxide and drinking hydrochloric acid; to his clandestine research for the British Admiralty during the Second World War. He is best remembered as a geneticist who revolutionized our understanding of evolution, but his peers hailed him as a polymath.  

He foresaw in vitro fertilization, peak oil, and the hydrogen fuel cell, and his contributions ranged over physiology, genetics, evolutionary biology, mathematics, and biostatistics. He was also a staunch communist, which led him to Spain during the Civil War and sparked suspicions that he was spying for the Soviets. He wrote copiously on science and politics in newspapers and magazines, and he gave speeches in town halls and on the radio - all of which made him, in his day, as famous in Britain as Einstein.

©2019 Samanth Subramanian (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about A Dominant Character

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  • CB
  • 11-14-20

poor narration

could not tolerate narrators very limited, repetative cadence. unable to listen so can't comment on content.

2 people found this helpful

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Very poor reader

I can't really tell if I like this book or not. As an audio performance...and I don't say this lightly...it stinks. British pronunciation is fine, but not the sing-song repetitive cadence of almost every sentence. As far as I can tell, Haldane comes across as a complex but not very likable character. Some facts are thrown in just for completeness sake, without adding anything to the portrait. Disappointing, because I generally enjoy biographies of scientific figures.

2 people found this helpful

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solid book but narration is nerve-wracking

Narrator's uptalk made it tough to read this otherwise fine biography on a complicated character.

1 person found this helpful

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A Dominant Narrator

I understand! that Mr. Cowley! has won awards! for his narration! But! I am not a fan! because his continuous! overemphasis! of words! distracts! inappropriately from the book! he is narrating!! I believe that Mr. Subramanian has written an excellent biography of Haldane. He brings out clearly the difficulties of trying to mold science to politics; it cannot be done. It will inevitably lead to errors. The nature of the universe is for us to study and understand and not for us to use to justify our political and social beliefs. Haldane understood and used the scientific method superbly, but he stumbled when he tried to support a Russian fabulist/scientist who was a Communist darling but who also abused and ignored the scientific method. If you want to read this book, I suggest you buy the paper version and read it. The book! in my view! was ruined! in many ways! by the narrator!!!