Author: A.J. Jacobs
Title: It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree
Publication Info: Simon & Schuster Audio (2017)
Previously Read by the Same Author:
Jacobs has written excellent books about his lifestyle experiments of trying to follow all the explicit rules of the Bible and reading the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. Both books offer funny observations and lots of tidbits of arcane knowledge. In this book, Jacobs applies a similar approach to genealogy, with much of the book structured around attempting a Guinness World Record for a Global Family Reunion, inviting everyone Jacobs is genetically related to (which could be everyone in the world).
Along the way, Jacobs examines traditional genealogical pursuits of family historians, and the newer methods of genetic testing and collaborative websites, and the tensions among them. Jacobs visits with Mormon genealogists, attends the Hatfields and McCoys reunion, explores the practice of polyamory, goes to a twins convention, and interviews celebrities who are his distant relations.
This book feels weak compared with Jacobs other books, as if he was seeking out other genealogical things to do to fill in blank spaces around his story of the family reunion. Maybe it would’ve been more focused as shorter work rather than a book?