In What Is Life? Margulis and Sagan have rephrased the answer to Schrödinger's brilliant question by means of a new and spirited explanation of the emergent levels of biological organization. . . . Theirs is a conceptual framework likely to influence future introductions to biology."E. O. Wilson
"A witty, exuberant panorama of life that elaborates the place of symbiosis in evolution."Mary Catherine Bateson
"This splendid book shows how much more there is to life than mere reductionist biology. Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan tread faithfully in Erwin Schrödinger's footsteps and are his true successors."James E. Lovelock
To the question, what is life?, world renowned biologist Margulis and science writer Sagan (her coauthor on Mystery Dance, LJ 7/91, and her son) respond: Life is matter that chooses. Mammalian cells are descended from the amalgamation of different strains of ancient bacteria. All life is connected to us through time and space. Species of organisms diverge into new kinds, yet earlier patterns never entirely disappear. Every species of plant, animal, and fungus perishes, and similar new taxa evolve from them or their kind. The human species may eventually disappear, but something else will evolve from our kind. We learn that we are not the only creative and original creatures but part of a global aggregation. Yet while we are not the only species to make evolutionary choices, we are the ones whose choices will make a difference as to what type of planetary ecosystem we leave for those species that follow. Beautifully executed with numerous photos and illustrations, this thought-provoking work is recommended for general readers and informed lay readers.-Gloria Maxwell, Kansas City P.L., Kan.