The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix
In his 1968 memoir, The Double Helix, the brash young scientist James Watson chronicled the drama of the race to identify the structure of DNA, a discovery that would usher in the era of modern molecular biology. Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski have built upon this gripping narrative, juxtaposing Watson’s racy account with the observations of other protagonists and offering an enhanced perspective on the now legendary story of Watson and Crick’s discovery.
Gann and Witkowski have mined many sources, including a trove of newly discovered correspondence belonging to Francis Crick (mislaid some fifty years ago) and the archives of Maurice Wilkins, Linus Pauling, Rosalind Franklin, and Watson and Crick themselves. Also in this edition are Watson’s own account of the Nobel Prize award and celebrations, appendixes that include an account of the book’s controversial first publication, and a chapter dropped from the original edition, as well as an extraordinary assortment of documents and photographs— many never before published. This wealth of material contributes depth and color to Watson’s novelistic text and places events in their contemporary scientific and social context.
After half a century, the implications of the double helix keep rippling outward; the tools of molecular biology have forever transformed the life sciences and medicine. The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix adds new richness to the account of the momentous events that led the charge.