Download The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life Audiobook

The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life Audiobook, by David Quammen Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: David Quammen Narrator: Jacques Roy Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2018 ISBN: 9781508252696
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Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction

Nonpareil science writer David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and life’s history, with powerful implications for human health and even our own human nature.

In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field—the study of life’s diversity and relatedness at the molecular level—is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important. For instance, we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infection—a type of HGT.

In The Tangled Tree David Quammen, “one of that rare breed of science journalists who blends exploration with a talent for synthesis and storytelling” (Nature), chronicles these discoveries through the lives of the researchers who made them—such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about “mosaic” creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health.

“Quammen is no ordinary writer. He is simply astonishing, one of that rare class of writer gifted with verve, ingenuity, humor, guts, and great heart” (Elle). Now, in The Tangled Tree, he explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life—including where we humans fit upon it. Thanks to new technologies such as CRISPR, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition—through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. The Tangled Tree is a brilliant guide to our transformed understanding of evolution, of life’s history, and of our own human nature. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “David Quammen proves to be an immensely well-informed guide to a complex story.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “[Quammen] is our greatest living chronicler of the natural world…There are vivacious descriptions on almost every page.”

    New York Times

  • “A deep and daring intellectual adventure…The Tangled Tree is much more than a report on some cool new scientific facts. It is, rather, a source of wonder.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Celebrated science writer David Quammen tells perhaps the grandest tale in biology…He presents the science—and the scientists involved—with patience, candor, and flair.”

    Nature

  • “Illuminating, wondrous, and gripping…This is stunning, first-rate journalism.”

    Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams

  • New York Times bestseller
  • A #1 Amazon.com bestseller in zoology

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About the Author

David Quammen is an author and journalist whose books include The Song of the Dodo, The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, Spillover, and the New York Times bestseller The Tangled Tree. Spillover was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Scientific American Book of the Year. He has received numerous awards, including the Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction, the John Burroughs Medal for nature writingand the PEN/Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award for the Art of the Essay. He has written for numerous magazines and is a contributing writer for National Geographic.

About the Narrator

Jacques Roy is a audio narrator and actor, known for The Lower Angels and Room and Board.