The Double Helix Unravels Its Story

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The Double Helix Unravels Its Story James Watson has done fantastic job writing The Double Helix. It is one hundred forty one pages of sure amusement and knowledge. The prominence on the main characters, Francis Crick and James Watson in this nonfiction book will make you feel as if you are reliving the discovery of the DNA structure.

The Double Helix is a wonderfully amusing and first-rate read as long as you are not one of the people mentioned in it. The first sentence starting the book is "I have never seen Francis Crick in a modest mood", and the level of tact does not rise. We get to hear about annoying characteristics, and rather insensitive personal opinions as well. The quality is not even spiteful, but instead it reads as though Watson simply wrote down exactly what he thought, in the most comical way possible, without a care about how it would look to those reading.

As a result, it seems that he was amazed when some of his coworkers mentioned stopped speaking to him.

Watson does not excuse himself from the treatment he gives others. He explains in his research motivation as a blend of laziness (for example him not wanting to learn biochemistry) and pure ambition. There is no covering up here that Watson and Crick weren't happy when they heard that Linus Pauling had a proposed structural model for DNA, and then thrilled when it turned out to be wrong. They wanted to go forward to the cause of "pure science", but they also kept their eyes on the prize, which was without a doubt the Nobel Prize.

This book struck me as amusing and intensely honest, rather than offensive. Watson does come off as "a jerk" in his treatment of his competitors, especially Rosalind...