Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Monkey Business

James Robertson reviews David Boyd Haycock's latest book A Monkey Business, about the history of man's quest for immortality

‘To philosophise,’ Montaigne once wrote, ‘is to learn to die.’ He was paraphrasing Cicero and making an ancient point — only by leading examined lives can we reconcile ourselves to the inevitability of our deaths. The legendary sanguinity of philosophers such as Socrates and Epicurus on their deathbeds seems to bear witness to the truth of the aphorism. In Mortal Coil, however, David Boyd Haycock has written a compelling history of man’s scientific search for longer life, one that reminds us of the many enlightened minds who wanted more than the consolations of philosophy...
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