The Gene: An Intimate History

Version: Unabridged
Author: Siddhartha Mukherjee
Narrator: Dennis Boutsikaris
Genres: History, Non-Fiction, Social Science
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Published In: May 2016
# of Units: 16 CDs
Length: 16 hours, 39 minutes
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2017 Audie Award Finalist for Non-Fiction

The #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller
The basis for the PBS Ken Burns Documentary The Gene: An Intimate History

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies—a fascinating history of the gene and “a magisterial account of how human minds have laboriously, ingeniously picked apart what makes us tick” (Elle).

'Sid Mukherjee has the uncanny ability to bring together science, history, and the future in a way that is understandable and riveting, guiding us through both time and the mystery of life itself.' –Ken Burns

“Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee dazzled readers with his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies in 2010. That achievement was evidently just a warm-up for his virtuoso performance in The Gene: An Intimate History, in which he braids science, history, and memoir into an epic with all the range and biblical thunder of Paradise Lost” (The New York Times). In this biography Mukherjee brings to life the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.

“Mukherjee expresses abstract intellectual ideas through emotional stories…[and] swaddles his medical rigor with rhapsodic tenderness, surprising vulnerability, and occasional flashes of pure poetry” (The Washington Post). Throughout, the story of Mukherjee’s own family—with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness—reminds us of the questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In riveting and dramatic prose, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation—from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

“A fascinating and often sobering history of how humans came to understand the roles of genes in making us who we are—and what our manipulation of those genes might mean for our future” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), The Gene is the revelatory and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master. “The Gene is a book we all should read” (USA TODAY).

Reviews (7)


Written by cassie w on February 26th, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Very informative and detailed

Written by Maria Guadalupe cardenas on March 9th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Great book, it kept me interested and made me take notes and read up on different subjects. It's long, but the narration is wonderful.

Written by Donovan Patar on September 22nd, 2016

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Wow I never thought this would be so comprehensive and knowledge inducing.

Written by Riyadh Alshammari on September 1st, 2016

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I enjoyed listening to this book.. I tell the history of the gene in beautiful way.. I wish that I listened to this book when I started medical school it would've made it more interesting.

Written by Nicholas Capito on August 28th, 2016

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Excellent book! Wonderful narration! Was helpful to have a medical background but this story could be enjoyed by any with the interest in genetics.

Written by Gregory Monokian on July 1st, 2016

  • Book Rating: 5/5

It is a rare book that can expose an entire field of study without oversimplification yet accessible and read like a novel. My only complaint was my disappointment when the last word was spoken (I wanted it to go on and on). Since the end of the story has a way to go, I look forward to his next installment in about 10 years. Bravo!

Written by Amir Rey on June 13th, 2016

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Very thorough book for medical and biology student , highly recommended

Author Details

Author Details

Mukherjee, Siddhartha

Siddhartha Mukherjee is the author of"The Emperor of AllMaladies: A Biography of Cancer", winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction, and "The Laws of Medicine". He is the editor of Best Science Writing 2013Mukherjee isan assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician and researcher.A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School.He has published articles in "Nature", "The New England Journal of Medicine", "The New York Times", and "Cell".He lives in New York with his wifeand daughters.