Recommended books about human cloning (nonfiction)

Who’s Afraid of Human Cloning? by Gregory E. Pence

The beginning of this book is superb and it only gets better from there.  Gregory Pence, a professor of philosophy and bioethics at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, is unabashedly in favor of human cloning.  Pence talks about attending the first major conference on human cloning where the pro-cloning position was not defended in any way.  He chastises bioethicists for their condemnation of cloning and their failure to examine both sides of the issue before forming opinions.  This is the best book on the bioethics of human cloning as Pence puts all the others to shame. 
More information on Who’s Afraid of Human Cloning by Gregory Pence.

Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World by Lee M. Silver

Lee Silver is a professor at Princeton University.  He is always being quoted in the press about human cloning.  Silver says that human cloning will happen, it’s only a matter of time.  This nonfiction book starts out with some astonishing futuristic scenarios in chapter one.  Then things got a little bit boring for me in chapters two and three where Silver tries to define life and gets into the abortion debate, but then the book picks up and really excels when it gets back to cloning and reproduction.  One of the interesting things he points out is the older women at risk for trisomy 21 (downs syndrome) could avoid that risk with a clone baby.  Lee Silver sees a future in which we clone humans and we genetically engineer them.  He shares a lot about the technology that is going to make it all happen.  Silver really knows the material.  He appeared on the McLaughlin Group on 8/28/98 and represented himself very well as the show discussed the future of biotechnology.  On the back cover, David Baltimore, a nobel prize winner, says “Remaking Eden is the most important book about modern biology that I have seen recently…”  A paperback version with a slightly different title,Remaking Eden: How Genetic Engineering and Cloning Will Transform the American Familyhas recently come out. More on the paperback – Lee Silver’s hardback book

Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Beyond by Gina Kolata

 A great book by Gina Kolata, the New York Times reporter who first broke the cloning story in the United States.  This book goes over the history of cloning and reviews the science that led to cloning.  Kolata has talked to the key players and we get to know them personally as we read their fascinating stories.  An addional plus is that she exposes some of the questionable motivations behind the ethics movement in America.  I thought the first chapter was slow, but from there the book took off and did not disappoint.  A back cover blurb by professor Elaine Showalter of Princeton says “Gina Kolata’s Clone is a gripping account of the unlikely adventurers who produced a stunning scientific breakthrough, and a provocative analysis of its ethical implications.” I found the attempts to whip up ethical controvery weak, but Kolata’s tales of the science behind cloning are magnificent. Gina Kolata’s Clone

The Clone Age: Adventures in the New World of Reproductive Technology Age by Lori B. Andrews

 First the good things about this book.  It’s well written and an easy read.  In fact, at the end of the book Lori Andrews suggests that it’s her memoir.  She was one of the first lawyers to get involved in reproductive law and Andrews is at her best when she goes over the interesting legal cases she has handled in which she fought for reproductive rights.  It’s great when she brings up interesting legal dilemmas that have come about because of new reproductive technologies.  She’s also right on target when she is a patient advocate who says that men and women need total access to medical information about new reproductive technologies.  What’s not so good about the book is that despite the title it actually has little to do with cloning.  It’s mostly a book about infertility and reproductive technology with only a brief mention of cloning in the prologue and two brief chapters about cloning at the very end.  She’s often posing questions about how people would feel but seldom presents any sort of answer.  By the end of the book she comes across as a person like one who claims all her life not to be prejudiced but then when her son wants to marry a minority suddenly changes their view.  In other words she is not consistent.  She is for reproductive freedom in the beginning of her career and then shamelessly comes out against human cloning–an inconsistency that is hard to forgive.  It almost seems that since the entire world came out as anticloning after Dolly she became a political prostitute and wrote for the presidential commission (National Bioethics Advisory Commission) exactly what President Clinton wanted to hear.  Some of her ideas about regulation seem like the Orwellian nightware or Brave New World nightmare that we all want to avoid.  So balancing the positives and negatives, it’s a fascinating book, an enjoyable read, worth buying, but would be a much better book if she had stayed the course in favor of fighting for reproductive rights.

The Conquest of Death by Alvin Silverstein

This is a book that contains many themes related to immortality according to one of our Web site’s fans.

From Cell to Clone: The Story of Genetic Engineering by Margery and Howard Facklam

This book was recommended by one of our Web site’s fans.  This book is a lot about genetics, but has a chapter on human cloning.

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