Recommended: The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix

Books and recommendations from Scientific American
The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix, James D. Watson, Alexander Gann, Jan Witkowski

Simon and Schuster

The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix
by James D. Watson . Edited by Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski
Simon and Schuster, 2012 (($30))

Watson's 1968 account of the race to identify the structure of DNA remains one of the best science memoirs ever written. This new annotated edition features letters, photographs and other documents from the period of Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins's Nobel Prize–winning discovery. Among the highlights: letters exchanged by some of the major players, including x-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, who had a famously difficult relationship with Wilkins and Watson, testify to the intense, competitive atmosphere of the time. In one letter, Franklin confides to a friend that she finds many of her colleagues “positively repulsive.”


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