Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Book Reviews

I've recently read a couple of books that I think would be of interest to anyone interested in the use of DNA testing in genealogy. These might make a good Christmas present for the reader/genealogist in your family.

The Stranger in My Genes

This book, by Bill Griffeth, an anchor on CNBC, details his experiences when he got an unexpected result from a DNA test. As you probably guessed from the book title and the picture on the cover of the book, he learned through DNA testing that the man who he thought was his father was not his father at all. (Bill reveals this in the first paragraph of the introduction, so I am not spoiling any surprises here.) The book discusses the many emotions Bill felt as a result of learning this information, how he approached his mother about the news, and what he decided to do upon learning who his real father was. The book is a fast read, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is thinking about DNA testing. This book is a reminder that there could be some surprises awaiting anyone who considers DNA testing.

The Gene:  An Intimate History

Although not specifically about DNA testing for genealogical purposes, this book by Siddhartha Mukherjee is a fascinating account of the origins of genetics. It covers a lot of ground in explaining the evolution of the field of genetics and the discovery of DNA, and for the most part does so in an engaging and understandable way. There are a few instances where the book gets a little more technical than I cared for, but on the whole it is very readable and definitely added to my understanding of the study of DNA, which is undoubtedly an important tool in the genealogist's toolkit. If you are into DNA testing and want to know more about the gene, I highly recommend this book as well.

[Images of book covers are from Google Books]

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