Simon & Schuster Releases New Edition of James D. Watson's THE DOUBLE HELIX


Simon & Schuster has published a new edition of James D. Watson's The Double Helix, annotated and illustrated by Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski this November, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins receiving the Nobel prize for identifying the structure of DNA. Publisher Jonathan Karp acquired North American and digital rights for the book from Amanda Urban of ICM.

In the original 1968 memoir, The Double Helix, James Watson held nothing back, offering not only a startling window into the scientific method, full of insight and wit-but a portrait of brilliant scientists with human ambitions and bitter rivalries, pushing one another toward a discovery which would usher in the era of modern molecular biology.

Many years later, Gann and Witkowski, two professors at the Watson School of Biological Sciences, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, discovered a trove of correspondence belonging to Francis Crick, mislaid some 50 years earlier. Struck by a new perspective of the now legendary story of Watson and Crick, they were inspired to create a book which would combine other narratives, add context and document the social history of the DNA detective story. It is being published in association with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

Gann and Witkowski gained permission from James Watson himself to create an annotated version of his memoir and pair it with the rich existing archive of documents, photographs, and illustrations. Mining many sources, both published and unpublished, this new edition offers an enhanced experience of this momentous story, filled with the kind of science anecdotes that are told and retold in the halls of universities and laboratories everywhere.

Watson himself is amazed by how much new material had been folded into his original book. "Seeing so many old letters and photographs, and reading so much new information about many of the characters in the story, recalled for me vividly those days in Cambridge almost 60 years ago-what it was like to be a young American living in postwar England and to be surrounded by so many bright people."

"The Double Helix is one of the seminal science books of our time," says Jonathan Karp. "It's an honor to be publishing this edition, which will provoke new conversation and appreciation."