Let’s Talk

The author Christine Kenneally — who wrote the wonderful book The Invisible History of the Human RaceInvisible History of the Human Race — graciously agreed to participate in a Twitter chat we are hosting on January 21st at 4pm EST.

Her book had some delightful insights into how our DNA, our personal history and our environment shape us. Using personal stories, including her own, she conveys the complicated history of genetic science.

A former academic Christine, who has written for the New Yorker and is a contributing editor at Buzzfeed, said she became a journalist, in part, because it allowed her to expand the kind of questions she was exploring as a scientist.

“I became increasingly frustrated by the narrowing of interests that my academic career seemed to require,” she said. “Journalism allowed me to keep asking the questions that interested me, all the big and the little ones.”

The beauty of her book is that Christine uses personal stories including her own family’s story to explain some of the issue around genetic testing.

“I knew that I cared deeply about some topics that many other people found pretty dry, and I wanted to understand why they mattered to me,” she said. “Asking that question led me into the past and back to my family. I also wanted to find a way to connect with readers who wouldn’t normally be interested in science. Working out why I cared helped me think about the ways that they might.”

But her book also looks at how the advances in genetics broadens our understanding of biology, evolution and medicine.

“DNA won’t change everything about medicine, but I do think it is going to have a huge impact on much of it,” Christine said. “I feel deeply excited that my children are going to be able to access medical information that may help them make choices about their (health). I hope I live long enough to see what happens. It’s so fascinating.”

Join what promises to be a stimulating and interesting conversation with Christine. We want to hear from you. So ask Christine a few questions or simply track our chat on Twitter with the hashtag #23BookClub. You can enter for a chance to win a copy of the book.

  • Puzzled Researcher

    Ms. Kenneally’s book has some significant flaws, not the least of which is the lack of citations, which are sorely needed if she wants to back up some of her assertions. It is in no sense a scholarly book.

    Her view of genealogy is a bit twisted, focusing narrowly on the negative aspects of a handful of motivations that have enticed people into the field. She also plays the Eugenics-card way too haphazardly.

    Overall, I feel the book is burdened by too many agendas (even if I agree with some of them) to be considered a fair representation of the topics of genealogy and genetics and how they relate to each other.

    • 23blog

      Hello Puzzled Researcher,

      Your criticism for Ms. Kenneally’s lack of citations seems a bit misplaced. There are approx 300 citations in the book. They are in the Notes section that begins at page 323. She also does a really good job at synthesizing some very complicated science, which is also very current.

  • RandyZie

    Hope to see more events like this.

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