LONGLISTED FOR THE 2017 ORWELL PRIZE
'Eye-opening, extraordinary insights into ordinary lives' Financial Times
'Superb' Literary Review
The remarkable story of a unique series of studies that have touched the lives of almost everyone in Britain today
In March 1946, scientists began to track thousands of children born in one cold week. No one imagined that this would become the longest-running study of human development in the world, growing to encompass five generations of children. Today, they are some of the best-studied people on the planet, and the simple act of observing human life has changed the way we are born, schooled, parent and die. This is the tale of these studies and the remarkable discoveries that have come from them. Touching almost every person in Britain today, they are one of our best-kept secrets.
'If you ever wondered whether the circumstances of your early life steered you along a particular path, look no further than this book ... highly readable ... a goldmine of social history' Eric Kaufmann, Literary Review
'Hugely engaging ... the scientists are an irresistibly eccentric, passionate bunch' Nick Curtis, Evening Standard
Helen Pearson is a writer and editor for the international journal Nature. Her stories have won accolades including the 2010 Wistar Institute Science Journalism Award and two best feature awards from the Association of British Science Writers. Based in London, she has a PhD in genetics and spent eight of her years with Nature in New York.