Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Robert Trivers' Wild Life

I look forward to reading it, just for the "skewering" of Stephen Jay Gould

From David P. Barash's review in the LA Review of Books
"A notable characteristic of [evolutionary biologist Robert Triver's autobiographical] Wild Life is the author’s fearless, painfully honest willingness to share many aspects of his life. We learn, for example, of his lifelong struggle with bipolar disease, including treatment while still a college student at Harvard, at McLean Hospital, “a well-known private hospital outside Boston with a very heavy Freudian bias that specialized in keep­ing wealthy people in their care for long periods of time.”...
We are also made privy to painful aspects of Trivers’s wild loves, not least his long-standing fondness for ganja (Jamaican for marijuana), and for women...
Robert Trivers has in fact spent time in a Jamaican prison, and has had several near-death experiences in that tropical other-than-paradise, occasioned at least partly by his fondness for ganja, and his hard-drinking, bar-visiting inclinations, along with his deep personal involvement with the people of Jamaica, at least some of whom seem less than salubrious. A few readers might also be surprised — although at this point, perhaps not! — to learn that, although Caucasian, he was for a time a Black Panther, and a close friend of Huey Newton. We also learn of his more traditional associations, including with such other greats of what I call revolutionary biology, notably Ernst Mayr, William Hamilton, Richard Dawkins, G. C. Williams, and Irven DeVore, as well as a much-deserved skewering of Stephen Jay Gould."

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