About Oxygen


Reviews of Oxygen from: TLS, THES, Sunday Times, The Guardian, Nature, Science, Financial Times, Focus....


Highly ambitious.... Oxygen is a piece of radical scientific polemic, nothing less than a total rethink of how life evolved between about 3.5 billion and 543 million years ago, and how that relates to the diseases we suffer from today.... This is science writing at its best (full text)

Jerome Burne, Financial Times


Lane has written a wonderful book about the dual role of oxygen in life and death. He sheds light on these human preoccupations by tracing the evolution of life and atmospheric oxygen on planet earth. This is a scientific saga as compelling as any creation myth and Lane tells it with appropriate zeal. (full text)

Tim Lenton, Times Higher Educational Supplement


Oxygen is the story of life on Earth....Nick Lane's chapters are dispatches from the frontiers of research into Earth and life history, but they contain nothing that will lose the patient reader and much that will reward (full text)

Tim Radford, The Guardian


Enthralling... An excellent book. It held me spellbound for a 7 hour plane flight. I recommend it unreservedly (full text)

Barry Halliwell, Free Radical Research


Broad-ranging and densely argued.... Lane's learning and historical scope enable vivid descriptions of the role oxygen has played in determining the course of evolution.... [an] ambitious and detailed work (full text)

Michael Peel , Times Literary Supplement


A thought-provoking popularization of evolution and oxygen biochemistry... I can recommend the book strongly because of its informational content and its breezy and accessible style. (full text)

Bernard Babior, New England Journal of Medicine


In this excellent book, Lane explains how oxygen was the cornerstone of the evolutionary explosion and reviews the theory that oxygen is implicated in ageing. He presents his theories with clarity, making them accessible to anyone with basic scientific knowledge. This is both a scholarly and readable introduction to an important topic (full text)

The Good Book Guide


Lane discusses a wide variety of aspects of free radicals and antioxidants.... his account is both informative and entertaining (full review)



Nick Lane breaks out of the mould with a provocative discussion of oxygen's role in evolutionary biology, age-related diseases, and the life and death of human beings... The questions he addresses are of immeasurable practical concern... Lane's exhaustive research is reflected in his tight arguments and crisp prose (full text)

Dan Falk, The Ottawa Citizen


Nick Lane has written a meticulously detailed history of oxygen on our planet... A unifying thread of Lane's narrative, fascinating in its irony, binds it all together: oxygen, an essential element of life, is also an agent of death (full text)

Laurence A. Marschall, Natural History Magazine


A searching analysis of the role played by free radicals in senescence... crammed with interesting information, supported by an eclectic choice of references to the recent literature... a worthy effort with a clearly argued message, full of informative and entertaining details (full text)

Christian de Duve, American Scientist


Enjoyable and informative… Oxygen presents an entertaining and cogent account of how oxidative stress fits in to our rapidly expanding knowledge about ageing … a nicely crafted account of an important element's place in our lives … deserves to be widely read (full text)

Tom Kirkwood, Nature


Lane's book is an extraordinary orchestration of disparate scientific disciplines, connecting the origins of life on earth with disease, age and death in human beings. In his finale, he tells us many things we ought to know about antioxidants and diet.

John Cornwell, Sunday Times


Oxygen's history has never been told as well as Nick Lane tells it here. If there's a fact about oxygen that's worth knowing , it's included.... one of the better books to appear this year

David Payne, Focus Magazine


British biochemist Lane examines questions of life and death as seen through the lens of oxygen.... Provocative and complexly argued (starred review)

Kirkus Reviews


This is truly a unique book which takes the reader into unknown territory....Once you start reading it's difficult to put it down.... might well become the talking point of 2003

John Emsley, Chem@Cam


One cannot understand evolution by studying internal factors (genes) alone! Nick Lane shows how oxygen shapes life. Oxygen is more than just another environmental factor. Oxygen is a mixed blessing: we cannot live without it, but it kills us in the end. Oxygen is the elixir of life - and death. A new perspective on life, evolution, ageing, death, sex, longevity, and disease. Nick Lane's biophysical expertise is a necessary ingredient of an Evolutionary Synthesis.

Gert Korthof, www.wasdarwinwrong.com


A glorious book that tells of dragonflies as big as seagulls, hotels in huge metal balls, the magic of photosynthesis... and why we get old. Do NOT miss this book!

David Freeman, Relaxwithabook.com