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Biologists and the Promise of American Life:
From Meriwether Lewis to Alfred Kinsey
Philip J. Pauly

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"Biologists and the Promise of American Life . . . is extremely well researched, it is very well written, and it provides many interesting historical insights while, at the same time, it asks many provocative questions. Pauly's new work will become the standard text for overviews of American biology from the early nineteenth century until the Second World War."--Keith R. Benson, Bulletin of the History of Medicine

"An engaging history that will be valued by both specialists and general readers. . . . The treatment of people is insightful and sympathetic. In a series of vignettes Pauly captures each person's essential qualities--and eccentricities--and shows how in diverse ways they expressed the many varieties of American experience. . . . While covering vast ground, he engages the reader's attention by keeping the individuals in clear focus."--Sharon Kingsland, Isis

"In this thoughtful and gracefully written book, Pauly shows how American biologists in the first half of the twentieth century took on the project of developing the science of biology in the United States as a cultural project. . . . He shows us a world of scientists deeply engaged in a project that they understand as simultaneously moral, social, political, and thoroughly scientific."--Naomi Oreskes, Journal of the History of Behavioral Science

"A useful and thought-provoking contribution to the understanding of the role of a natural science--biology--in shaping the culture of the modern world."--Maciej Henneberg, Journal of Biosocial Science


"There is no book that covers quite the same territory and places this cluster of internal disciplinary issues in a larger institutional and cultural/political context. Philip Pauly is well informed about current scholarship and has a good eye for the telling quotation or incident."--Charles E. Rosenberg, University of Pennsylvania

"This is a stunning book both for the courage, ambition, and vision of its topic and for the solid style of its achievement."--Mary P. Winsor, University of Toronto

"Philip Pauly is a first-rate American historian, one of the most imaginative writers today. He is not just a historian of science, but rather a historian of the ways that science plays out in American culture and society. Biologists and the Promise of American Life is an excellent and important book that will reach a wide audience--it will be useful for scholars and classrooms alike, and entice historians of science to expand their perspective. And it's fun to read, with a good mix of stories, personalities, practices, resources, and references."--Jane Maienschein, Arizona State University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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