June 1958

Uniqueness of the Individual.

Author Affiliations

By Peter B. Medawar. Price, $4. Pp. 191, with illustrations. Basic Books, Inc., 59 Fourth Ave., New York 3, 1958.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(6):1177-1178. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260180167030

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This book is a collection of essays; it consists of a series of brilliant and witty discourses on biology, with the emphasis on man as an important aspect of biology. Peter B. Medawar is the Jodrell Professor of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy of University College, University of London. The essays were given originally as lectures at diverse places and times, but the unifying theme of dynamic biology brings them into a harmonious whole, which develops as though they had been planned as chapters in a book. The essay on old age and natural death will please those of a philosophic bent as well as gerontologists, for implied in understanding life is understanding death and implied in understanding death is understanding life. These essays have many biological and Darwinian sidelights and implications. Medawar's views are summed up in a sentence: "Senility is an artifact of domestication, discovered and revealed only by

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