Paul Johnson

Survival of the Kindest

Why Genes are Not Selfish and People are Nice: A Challenge to the Dangerous Ideas that Dominate Our Lives

By

Floris Books 296pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

This is an important book and should be read widely. Colin Tudge is a polymath, though a specialist in biology, who lives in Oxford but is not part of an academic establishment. He thus has no qualms about challenging current conventional wisdom in the university world, which frightens the donnish rank-and-file into conformity and inhibits original thinking.

Tudge’s language at the beginning is often rough, not to say brutal, which gives the impression, quite falsely, that his argument lacks intellectual rigour and may allow his critics an easy opportunity to discredit him. But once he gets into his theme his reasoning becomes terse, polite and formidable. For a shortish book of under 300 pages, not hindered with heavy academic apparatus, it covers a great deal of ground, all of it of interest and some of it of vital relevance to how we judge the universe and ourselves.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Her favourite design included a body in the shape of a horse, with a steam engine inside ... The passenger would t… ,
    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,