Human enhancement is a good thing, argues the British bio-ethicist and philosopher JOHN HARRIS. In his latest book, Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People, he states that the hostility towards genetic engineering, stem-cell research, designer children, cloning and other concepts is misplaced. He says that using chemistry and genetics to make ourselves better, stronger, smarter or prettier is in some cases not just morally defensible, it's a moral imperative. Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People is published by Princeton University Press.
The Irish writer JOHN BANVILLE has once more turned to crime...with a second novel published under his pseudonym, Benjamin Black. Having won the Booker Prize for his novel The Sea, John Banville is writing a series of crime fiction featuring a pathologist set in Dublin in the 1950s. He explains how this dark subject matter has provoked him to consider the nature of evil. The Silver Swan is published by Picador. John is also giving a talk on 15 October at the Royal Society of Literature on Behaving Badly which examines crime.
Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italian revolutionary leader and popular hero of Italian unification, was among the best-known figures of the nineteenth century. LUCY RIALL, Professor of History at Birkbeck College, discusses why and how he achieved such a status. She argues that he was partly created by the emergence of the cheap newspaper and a mass reading public, who played an integral part in creating him as one of the first international political celebrities. Her lecture, Garibaldi: the patriot as global hero, marks the bicentenary of his birth and will take place at the London School of Economics on 24 October at 6.30pm. Garibaldi: Invention of a Hero is published by Yale University Press.
JOHN O’FARRELL tackles the history of this country in his own inimitable way. His new book, An Utterly Impartial History of Britain (or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge), claims to teach you all the stuff you ought to know but don’t. He discusses Britain’s history from the establishment of the class system in 1066 to the incompetent and untalented Stuarts. An Utterly Impartial History of Britain (or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge) is published by Doubleday.