Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend
Publication Date: October 2008
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Starting with psychology as a frame of reference, Oakley uses cutting-edge images of the working brain to provide startling support for the idea that "evil" people act the way they do mainly as the result of a dysfunction. In fact, some deceitful, manipulative, and even sadistic behavior appears to be programmed genetically suggesting that some people really are born to be bad.
Oakley links the latest findings of molecular research to a wide array of seemingly unrelated historical and current phenomena, from the harems of the Ottomans and the chummy jokes of "Uncle Joe" Stalin, to the remarkable memory of investor Warren Buffet. Throughout, she never loses sight of the personal cost of evil genes as she unravels the mystery surrounding her sister's enigmatic life and death.
"Evil Genes"is a tour-de-force of popular science writing that brilliantly melds scientific research with intriguing family history and puts both a human and scientific face to evil.
David Sloan Wilson is Professor of Biology at State University of New York at Binghamton.