The Invisible History of the Human Race by Christine Kenneally

The Invisible History of the Human Race

What the latest research reveals about how the history of the human race shapes us as individuals We are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it, but how are we affected by the forces that are invisible to us? In The Invisible History of the Human Race, Christine Kenneally draws on cutting-edge research to reveal how both historical artifacts and DNA tell us where we come from and where we may be going. While some books explore our g...

Details The Invisible History of the Human Race

TitleThe Invisible History of the Human Race
Release DateOct 9th, 2014
GenreScience, Nonfiction, History, Biology, Genetics, Anthropology

Reviews The Invisible History of the Human Race

  • J.L. Sutton
    What science (especially DNA) can tell us about who we are (and where we come from) has grown exponentially in the last few decades. DNA is only part of the story. How our personal history or family history (coded in DNA) intersects not only with a bigger history (migrations and such) but technological innovations, social movements and even attitudes makes Christine Kenneally’s Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our ...
  • Greg
    I received this book as part of a Goodreads First Reads giveaway, and it was an interesting read on the impact of inheritance. Kenneally introduces a later chapter in the book with a fantastic Confucian quote that I think aptly describes the main thrust of the book: “By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart.” Despite the subtitle I assumed the main argument of this book would be to highlight the migration of var...
  • Jaylia3
    DNA and the riveting meta-history of being humanThis fascinating reader-friendly book covers a diverse but related set of topics including ancient human origins, the history of our fascination with genealogy and ancestors, the inexplicable longevity of ideas that arise in a culture almost incidentally, the latest sometimes surprising finding about the workings of the human genome, and the benefits, risks, and limits of DNA testing for disease lik...
  • David Moss
    Disclosure: I received this book free as a "First Read" from Goodreads.The words "history", "Human Race", and "DNA" in the title and subtitle mislead the potential reader. The book is really about personal identity and the discovery of ancestry. The author specifically mentions the scientific community holding investigations into one's heredity as less than important, and the author argues that these things "matter" and "have significance." While...
  • Doris Jean
    I would correct the title to reflect that this book is on the history and sociology of geneology and ancestry. I thought this book would be more about the science of DNA and maybe even epigenetics which I find fascinating. Apparently there are ancestral non-DNA markers passed down which affect behavior, ideas, feelings and psychology. But there were only a couple of paragraphs on epigenetics, just enough to say it's not yet understood. This book ...
  • charlie
    an absolute mess of a book which put me in a bad mood every time I picked it up. lacking in structure or focus. ambles through its alleged topic without a point of view. most deceptive is the title which falsely promises a cohesive summary of Dna science . if I'm not mistaken "Dna" isn't even mentioned until the midway point of the book. and this is most certainly not a history of the human race invisible or visible. good riddance.
  • Eric
    I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures seeks to show how "the concept of ancestry can bring genetics and history together fruitfully." Author Christine Kenneally is very successful in this objective, weaving together stories of genealogy, historical records, and genetic science. She divides the book into three sections:I. Ideas A...
  • Rebecca
    Normally, this would be the kind of book I would walk right past in a bookshop. Science, race, identity. Shudder. But, two things happened: - Black Inc. send out a monthly email, and this book was on special as an ebook - this book was shortlisted for The Stella PrizeSo, I began reading the book on my ipad (not something I have successfully done to date) expecting it wouldn't be too interesting... only to discover her writing style is marvellous...
  • DebsD
    The title of this is very misleading; I (along with many other readers, clearly) expected something different: more about genes, more about DNA, more *science*. I don't think that expectation is unreasonable, especially given the subtitle of the book. Although it claims to be "how DNA and..." does something, DNA isn't even mentioned until about half-way through, and even after that, much of what is said is far more about historical events and soc...
  • Andrew Davis
    Expected more focus on genetics and DNA. Instead, a lot of journalistic relations of author's trips and discussions with the various individuals that are involved in genealogy and genetics. Made a few following notes:- Inside each cell of each person is a massive library of DNA, 3 billion base pairs that have been passed down to us.- Women have 2 X chromosomes, whilst men have one X and one Y chromosome. The Y chromosome is passed down from fathe...
  • Jim Fix
    Great writer, good reporter. But, goodness, how difficult to follow. To do it over, I might start with the Epilogue, then move to the last chapter. That's the only way I can figure to understand what points she is making. Somebody should have helped her organize this rambling thing. The author could take some clues from great educators: Tell us what you will say and why. Then say it. Repeatedly, I was following some path of information, simply to...
  • Bob Nichols
    The book summarizes the information that is covered elsewhere – e.g., the interest in and concerns about the use of genealogical information, its misuse (eugenics), DNA’s role in passing along physical characteristics and health problems, and the use of DNA to trace migration patterns of early humans (and the intermixing with Neanderthals). The book pulls together and updates the information and puts it in one place, but the title and subtitl...
  • Negar
    Learned some new things about genes which was interesting.
  • Peter Mcloughlin
    Ancestry according to the author is a subject that brings about an animus in many and great number of people have no small disdain for people involved in Genealogy. It bespeaks of an unhealthy interest in pedigree, snobbery and a tinge of Eugenics. Besides the right wing associations it is also true that most of use in modern societies want to be our own person and genealogy seems to erode the idea self made individual. As a result most of us onl...
  • Vegantrav
    I was expecting this book to have far more examples from rigid scientific and empirical studies, but it provided more of an anecdotal approach, which still proved to be very interesting. This is not to say that the author excluded more traditional experimental studies from this work but only that she relied less on this approach and more on individual case studies.The first few chapters focused so strongly on specific examples with so little emph...
  • Azita Rassi
    Very well written. The content is presented in an absorbing fashion that feels accessible even for a lay person like me, yet it is as finely organized as a dissertation. It was the best non-fiction book I read in 2017, a year in which I read several great non-fictions in various fields. This book made me so interested in genetics that I’ve signed up for a course on the subject offered by Duke University on Coursera.
  • Thomas S Berg
    Got me curiousIntrigued me enough to order a genetic sequencing kit from 23andMe. Soon enough I'll know how Neanderthal I am and how much of my Norse appearance is really from wandering Swedes.
  • Marie-Therese
    Excellent and very accessible book. Kenneally starts with the personal and moves fluidly into the historical then the universal, touching on issues of heritage, politics, ethnicity, medicine and the human future along the way.
  • Maria-Paula
    Received as a ARC. A very interesting read that explores our human genetics. Provides a rich history of our earliest ancestors that will leave you thinking. Can tell research was very well done. Would definitely recommend to a friend.
  • Jennifer
    I really enjoyed this book. I liked her style of writing, explanations, and examples. It gave me so much to think about and increased a desire to learn more about DNA and how it affects me and those around me.
  • Mai Huong
    wasn't sure what the book is about
  • Rachel (Sfogs)
    This book I found extremely interested. I was really hooked. I'm now sad it's finished.
  • Angie
    I got a copy of this book from the giveaways program on Goodreads.When I received this book, I jumped right into it, looking forward to it, and then struggled through the first 100 pages or so. I kept putting it down. The first section is a defense of geneology, as if the author wants to defend her interest in the subject against many nameless critics who said that the field is only for ego-maniacs and Nazis. It was tiresome. She was defending he...
  • Peter Geyer
    Covers or titles of books can encourage or discourage a read or a purchase, and can be outside the control of an author. C.G. Jung wrote that the title of his book The Undiscovered Self was invented by his American publisher, and that he "would never have thought of it, as the self is not really undiscovered, it is merely ignored or misunderstood. Perhaps sardonically, he commented "for the American public it seems to have been the right term."Th...
  • Vanessa Meachen
    This is one of the most extraordinary and interesting books I've read in a long time; the best way I can describe it is an investigation of, in the author's words, "the way that history affects DNA and the way that DNA affects history, with both together acting on some version of us." Some reviewers seem to have assumed it would all be about DNA and what it reveals about human societies, but it's much more nuanced and complicated than that. Socia...
  • Mary
    Excellent book. Kenneally has a gift for explaining complex concepts, and I learned a lot about history, genealogy, and DNA, mostly in the context of interesting personal stories, both about the author and her family and about other people and their families. The chapter on the political issues surrounding genetic information (and specifically the concept of race) was especially thought-provoking, but the whole book was a great read. It's one of ...
  • Ely
    Originally posted at A Book So Fathomless3.5 starsMy experience with non-fiction is limited to textbooks, and other things I’ve been forced to read over the years for class. I don’t hate non-fiction, but I don’t love it either. I think I’m more of a literary based non-fiction reader, so biographies of authors, or literary criticism – that sort of thing.I just wanted to mention this because I think this book is probably really good, but ...
  • Sam Dye
    She has the ability to weave voluminous research into a very readable book. The topics covered are unexpected and made me anticipate each transition to the next subject. Just a few facts from one chapter: The first-draft sequence of Neanderhal DNA was published in 2010 and by 2014 it was published that 1-3% Europeans have small pieces of the Neanderthal genome scattered in our DNA. Asians have a different ancient group Denisovans DNA and Africans...
  • Rachel
    Warning: this book may trigger an existential crisis. This very well-researched book takes a crack at tackling the history, cultural implications, and current science of heritability, ancestry, genealogy, and genetics. In addition to the hard science, Kenneally introduces important questions about our motivations for seeking this kind of knowledge about ourselves, and the potential risks in finding (or not finding) the answers we seek. I thought ...
  • David Quinn
    Christine Kenneally does a very nice job blending history, anecdote, social science and genetics to motivate her audience to ponder who we are, how we fit together currently and through time and why we didn't pay more attention when we studied DNA and genetics in high school. I remembered some genetics basics but wished I had a better understanding of that field as I read the last several chapters. If the subject of DNA and genetics is a turn off...