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Mutants : On Genetic Variety and the Human Body   book icon  
by Armand Leroi (2005)

read: 10 June 2006
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

One of the very few books I’ve purchased this year at close to [used] store prices. I was initially attracted to it both because my friend had read it, or at least heard of it, and because of the legless man on the cover. I’ve always been interested in freaks and grew up in a family where this sort of interest wasn’t aggressively discouraged. My parents would make up bedtime stories for meabout “the girl with no mouth” or other infirmities.

This book is not just another freak book -- though it does have a good set of pictures of genetic anomalies I had never sen before -- rather it is based on this premise: by looking at nature’s “mistakes” what can be learned about natures plans? The author looks at examples such as conjoined twins, looking at what varieties of conjoining do happen and which do NOT and then goes into the science behind this sort of creation, asking and answering “what goes on with the developing fetus that results in conjoined twins?” He goes through the same steps with albinos, armless and legless folks and a host of others. The book is short enough so that it doesn’t devolve into lengthy and dull scientific treatises, but long enough so that it’s not just a “look at the freaks” book.

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