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History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 126–128 | Cite as

Bengt Olle Bengtsson & Gunnar Broberg (red.), Bortom det acceptablas gränser. Bengt Lidforss och lundaradikalismen

Lund, Sweden: Ellerströms, 2013, 283 p, illus., 195 SEK
  • J. Arvid ÅgrenEmail author
Book Review

Following the end of the Second World War, aeronautical engineer John Maynard Smith was pondering his next career move. He knew what kind of life he wanted to live: that of a socialist and a puzzle-solver. But, science or politics, which would it be? As Oren Harman described it in the Price of Altruism (W.W. Norton & Company, 2010): “one's heart may be in two places, perhaps, but the brain is more demanding” (p. 154). Luckily for the field of evolutionary biology, he chose science. However, just like his hero and mentor J. B. S. Haldane, he remained a committed man of the left for all his life. On the other side of the Atlantic, other Darwinian heavy weights, such as Richard Lewontin and Stephen Jay Gould, were comrades in the same cause and came to live similar lives as biologists and public intellectuals. Their science never divorced them from wanting to reform the society in which they lived.

The botanist Bengt Lidforss (1868–1913) is not well known outside his native Sweden. This...

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© Springer International Publishing AG 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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