I was hooked immediately on A DUAL INHERITANCE and I hated to put it down. The two young men in the 1960s are people I know and I lived around and I went to school with them. This was a work of fiction but it drew compelling characters into you and you wanted to know what happened and wow did it have a great ending; it kept driving forward. It just stayed as good a read on every page. I did not want to skip a word.
It was very helpful to be reminded of this theory and term right at the beginning: “Dual Inheritance theory (DIT), also known as gene-culture coevolution, was developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s to explain how human behavior is a product of two different and interacting evolutionary processes: genetic evolution and cultural evolution.”
The characters remained wholeheartedly on target to demonstrate this theory and I found myself saying, “oh yeah!” I could follow it closely and carefully and yet it allowed one to escape into the story completely. Hershon is a good storyteller, and she does not assume we will just know the details; perfectly detailed right down to the mosquitos.
Ed and Hugh meet while students at Harvard. Ed is a scholarship student, Summa Cum Laude graduate and a Jew. Hugh is from a long family line of Harvard attendees and from a wealthy family. They have each lost their mothers at an early age and their fathers seemed to be determined to find fault with everything they do in a nasty way. Ed goes into finance and Hugh plans on being a photographer for documentaries, though ends up doing humanitarian work and developing free clinics in Africa and Haiti. Each man marries within the family expectation, and each man has a daughter. After losing the connection of their friendship, amazingly their daughters attend the same school and bring them back together when they are Grandfathers.
I have seen this pattern play out a number of times in my lifetime and although this is a fictional story, A DUAL INHERITANCE dances well with the concept of the theory and the writing is just so worthwhile. I was reminded of how much I enjoyed reading THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND KLAY, which also traces two young men on an adventure into the American experience, whereas Ed and Hugh are born years later and are already cast into the American scene. It was just this very East Coast traditionalism which made me so happy to return to the West Coast and a very Independent State. I am not of the cowboy rancher dynasty experience, but more of the justice and community building – let’s celebrate everyone’s experience – cooperation. Ed and Hugh missed out on the Viet Nam and Korea experiences because of money and health; whereas I was in the thick of it from pacifists, dodgers, religious exemptions, and soldiers training, wounded, and returning home. The story is still replete with the alcohol and drug addictions of the generation.
I think this is a grand story and one many can identify with and explore. It is going to be difficult for anyone to put the book down; A DUAL INHERITANCE is a great reading experience.
I received a proof copy of this book from TLC online book tours and Ballantine/ Random House Publishing Group. Thank you. I am very, very happy they shared this book with me – because I really, really liked it and I think you will too.
Related Reading: Look under the tab Recommended Reading there are lots and lots of book reviews there you might enjoy.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
Mountains Upon Mountains
The Swan Thieves
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