Saturday, November 22, 2008

How Life Begins

How Life Begins: The Science of Life in the Tomb is perhaps one of the first detailed books on the subject targeting the general public. I am sure that since it was written in 1996, there have been lots of new discoveries that illuminate the development of the fetus even further, for example the book In the Womb presenting unique pictures from the National Geographic film (2005). How Life Begins still provides an approachable text with a story. Christopher Vaughan is a skilled narrator who gives an account of the etymology behind certain terms. In addition, I am enjoying the parts in which he discusses Soviet versus Western progress in the field. Some passages reveal the American mysterious view of the East during the Cold War. Maybe because of that lack of knowledge, there is a certain dose of respect towards the developments behind the iron curtain. For example, Vaughan points out that "during the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Dr. Craig Sharp, consultant psychologist to the British Olympic team, was told by Eastern European sports doctors that they liked their athletes to have one child, and preferably two, because it made them better competitors" (54-55). Kudos for these Eastern Europeans for their functional schemes to improve the athletic performance. ;)

In the end, I hope to finally "have killed the rabbit" - in the old fashioned terminology which Vaughan explains in an amusing way in his book. And just to add to the disturbing yet quite popular discussion among comp professionals on gender authorship, the text reads as though written by a woman. Christopher uses equally sensual language as would Christina.

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