The River That Flows Uphill: A Journey from the Big Bang to the Big Brain

William H. Calvin, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $24.04 (528p) ISBN 978-0-02-520920-6
Neurobiologist and novelist (The Throwing Madonna Calvin uses a 14-day voyage through the Grand Canyonin the company of fellow scientistsas a vehicle for discoursing on earth history and evolution. This is a superb account of the river journey as a wilderness adventure. Generally, his forays into scientific subjects come naturallyhere are rock formations, fossils, Indian ruinsbut occasionally the essays seem forced. Calvin ruminates on the aquatic ape, juvenile traits, monogamy as a survival strategy, language and music in brain development, pain. He also makes trenchant remarks about the awarding of research grants and committee decision-making. All of this is deftly woven into that marvelous river trip (which, he confesses, was really four voyages); but his artifice is successfulreaders who enjoy adventure stories may discover they also enjoy good scientific writing. Fans of Stephen Jay Gould and Lewis Thomas will find Calvin equally stimulating. Illustrations. Prentice-Hall Book Clubs main selection. (November 21)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1986
Release date: 10/01/1986
Paperback - 548 pages - 978-0-595-16700-5
Paperback - 542 pages - 978-0-87156-719-2
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