Nature, Nurture and Chance

The Lives of Frank and Charles Fenner
Authored by:
ISBN (print): 1 920942 62 9
ISBN (online): 1 920942 63 7
Publication date: July 2006
Imprint: ANU Press

Judging by the numbers of newspaper reviews, biographies (including autobiographies) are amongst the most common literary works published these days. However, it is uncommon to find one book that combines a biography and an autobiography, as this book, Nature, Nurture and Chance: The Lives of Frank and Charles Fenner, does. As the author, Frank Fenner, sees it, ‘nature’ means the combination of genes that we inherit from our parents; ‘nurture’ means the way that our physical and social environment, especially during childhood, influence our mental and emotional characteristics; and chance is defined as ‘the way things fall out’. These three elements define the careers of all human beings. The author uses them to compare his father’s life and his own.