“For anyone interested in climbing their own family tree, A.J. Jacobs' It's All Relative offers a lighthearted crash course into the addictive world of genealogy. Inspired by the record-breaking get-togethers of the Lilly clan and heartened by the theory that we're all related, Jacobs embarks on a quest to hold the world's largest family reunion. As Jacobs juggles the mechanics of such a massive undertaking, he interviews well-known researchers in the field, discovers famous 'cousins,' and considers some of the ethical issues of diving into an ancestor's past. An enjoyable introduction to genealogy and the living family tree.”
— Molly Gillespie, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH
Winter 2018 Reading Group Indie Next List
“Funny and thought-provokingly good, this guide to how we are all family could lead to peace on earth. Really! It’s an exploration of family in a world of fissures and separatist thinking. In truth, our DNA is shared by millions. I found my Revolutionary War ancestor buried in a random guy’s front yard last summer. If I’d read this first, I would have better understood that he’s not just my forefather, he’s likely a cousin to A.J. Jacobs’, too. As we all are!”
— Candace Purdom, Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, IL
#1 New York Times bestselling author A.J. Jacobs undergoes a hilarious, poignant quest to understand what constitutes family—where it begins and how far it goes—in It’s All Relative, a “thought-provoking…delightful, easy-to-read, informative book” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
A.J. Jacobs has received some strange emails over the years, but this note was perhaps the strangest: “You don’t know me, but I’m your eighth cousin. And we have over 80,000 relatives of yours in our database.”
That’s enough family members to fill Madison Square Garden four times over. Who are these people, A.J. wondered, and how do I find them? So began Jacobs’s three-year adventure to help build the biggest family tree in history. In It’s All Relative, he “muses on the nature of family and the interconnectedness of humanity in this entertaining introduction to the world of genealogy” (Publishers Weekly).
Jacobs’s journey would take him to all seven continents. He drank beer with a US president, sung with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and unearthed genetic links to Hollywood actresses and real-life scoundrels. After all, we can choose our friends, but not our family.
“Whether he’s posing as a celebrity, outsourcing his chores, or adhering strictly to the Bible, we love reading about the wacky lifestyle experiments of author A.J. Jacobs” (Entertainment Weekly). Now Jacobs upends, in ways both meaningful and hilarious, our understanding of genetics and genealogy, tradition and tribalism, identity and connection. “Whimsical but also full of solid journalism and eye-opening revelations about the history of humanity, It’s All Relative is a real treat” (Booklist, starred review).
About the Author
A.J. Jacobs is the author of Thanks a Thousand, It’s All Relative, Drop Dead Healthy, and the New York Times bestsellers The Know-It-All,The Year of Living Biblically, and My Life as an Experiment. He is a contributor to NPR, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly. He lives in New York City with his wife and kids. Visit him at AJJacobs.com and follow him on Twitter @ajjacobs.