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The Monk in the Garden

by Robin Marantz Henig

Most people know that Gregor Mendel, the Moravian monk who patiently grew his peas in a monastery garden, shaped our understanding of inheritance. But people might not know that Mendel's work was ignored in his own lifetime, even though it contained answers to the most pressing questions raised by Charles Darwin's revolutionary book, ON ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES, published only a few years earlier. Mendel's single chance of recognition failed utterly, and he died a lonely and disappointed man. Thirty-five years later, his work was rescued from obscurity in a single season, the spring of 1900, when three scientists from three different countries nearly simultaneously dusted off Mendel's groundbreaking paper and finally recognized its profound significance. The perplexing silence that greeted Mendel's discovery and his ultimate canonization as the father of genetics make up a tale of intrigue, jealousy, and a healthy dose of bad timing. Telling the story as it has never been told before, Robin Henig crafts a suspenseful, elegant, and richly detailed narrative that fully evokes Mendel's life and work and the fate of his ideas as they made their perilous way toward the light of day. THE MONK IN THE GARDEN is a literary tour de force about a little-known chapter in the history of science, and it brings us back to the birth of genetics - a field that continues to challenge the way we think about life itself.


by Robin Marantz Henig

In The People's Health, author Robin Marantz Henig brings to life the compelling story of the successes and setbacks of public health. This engaging book documents the expansion of public health from a search for microbes to a global effort to secure a healthful environment--from physician John Snow's breakthrough in cholera prevention in mid-nineteenth-century Britain to the public health crisis emerging today from the war in Bosnia.Henig explores the multiple perspectives from which public health must be viewed--well illustrated by the medical, behavioral, and social aspects of AIDS. In telling the stories of the wars on malaria, polio, and other diseases, she describes the machinery of public health and highlights the detective work of the early searches for pathogens.Since mid-century, most disease has related not to epidemics but to personal choices about smoking and eating that can lead to heart disease and cancer. Henig looks at the groundbreaking Framingham Heart Study, running nearly 50 years, from which emerged the concept of risk factors for disease.The People's Health discusses the link between health and human rights--for example, how legal and cultural practices force many African women into unprotected sex with HIV-infected husbands.The subtext of The People's Health is the contribution of the Harvard School of Public Health, direct descendent of the first professional training program for public health in America, where many of the advances of the past half-century originated.Throughout the book, Henig highlights individuals, such as Philip Drinker, who invented the iron lung, and Jonas Salk, who developed the polio vaccine. Also included is the story of Jay Winsten, who, as director of Harvard's Center for Health Communication, imported the designated-driver concept from Sweden and persuaded television's largest production companies to weave it into program plots.A fast-moving overview of humankind's effort to conquer disease and the public health challenges on the horizon, this volume is a "must read" for anyone concerned about public health.

Twentysomething: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck?

by Robin Marantz Henig Samantha Henig

A mother-daughter writing team reports on what's really up with kids today Science writer Robin Marantz Henig and her daughter, journalist Samantha Henig, off er a smart, comprehensive look at what it's really like to be twentysomething-and to what extent it's di erent for Millennials than it was for their Baby Boomer parents. Th e Henigs combine the behavioral science literature for insights into how young people make choices about schooling, career, marriage, and childbearing; how they relate to parents, friends, and lovers; and how technology both speeds everything up and slows everything down. Packed with oft en-surprising discoveries, Twentysomething is a two-generation conversation that will become the definiftive book on being young in our time. "Th e fullest guide through this territory . . . A densely researched report on the state of middleclass young people today, drawn from several data sources and filtered through a comparative lens. " -The New Yorker .

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