Thursday, 15 July 2010
The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature by Matt Ridley
An eloquent exposition of the known facts and the then currently likely explanations for them. Written in 1993 but still a great overview. I am no expert on the subject but do follow it, and I think that nearly all of his content stands up today. Part of the reason for this is his wonderful habit of not just giving the summary but looking into to hows and whys of the conclusion the scientists have come to.
I find the very concept of the books title to be a deceptive one. At first glance you think, "hey that's clever, what a fascinating glimpse into a rather strange set of circumstances that bring out such an effect". By the time you are half way through the book you begin to realise that in fact this quirky little twist on the game of life is almost all pervasive and you are surrounded.
By the end of the book you have a new lens through which to view the world. Not many books do this, and hardly any of them do it using reality and logical thought, so this must be a keeper.
So ignore the various political pot shots taken at him (I speak as one who would happily cheer the mob onwards) and enjoy the quality of the writing and the fact you now have another way to think about the world.
4 out of 5 stars.