Dewar, Elaine 1948- (Elaine Ruth Dewar)

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Dewar, Elaine 1948- (Elaine Ruth Dewar)

PERSONAL:

Born June 18, 1948, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada; daughter of Sam (a physician) and Petty Sarah Landa; married Stephen Dewar, June 1, 1969; children: Anna Esther, Danielle Sarah Nicole. Education: Attended Nutana Collegiate and York University; University of Toronto, B.A., 1970. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Swimming, tennis, drawing, reading.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Toronto, Canada.

CAREER:

Me and My Friends Gallery, founder, 1970-72; Maclean's, researcher, assistant editor, and associate editor, 1973-77; freelance journalist, editor, and story editor, 1977—; City Woman (magazine), contributing editor, 1978-82; Lorne Green's New Wilderness, writer and story editor, 1982-85; Toronto Life (magazine), contributing editor, 1984-94; Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, instructor in magazine journalism, 1985-86; Dewar Productions, Inc., director and vice president, 1988—; Writers to Reform Libel Law, cofounder, 1990—.

AWARDS, HONORS:

York University Gold Medal for Outstanding Academic Achievement in English Literature, University of Toronto; A.C. Forrest Memorial Award; Mutual Life of Canada Award for business writing; Jackman Foundation Award for investigative journalism; University of Western Ontario President's Medal; Outdoor Writer's Association of America Two-Star Award; Foundation for the Advancement of Canadian Letters Author's Award; University of Kansas School of Journalism White Award for investigative journalism.

WRITINGS:

Cloak of Green, J. Lorimer (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1995.

Bones: Discovering the First Americans, Random House Canada (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

The Second Tree: Of Clones, Chimeras and Quests for Immortality, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS:

Elaine Dewar is a Canadian investigative journalist and nonfiction science writer. In Cloak of Green, she presents a study of the environmental movement in various places around the world. She states in her book that, like many other organizations, the environmental movement is connected to government agencies and businesses, and it works to promote and protect its own interests. Dewar also theorizes that environmental groups are linked in a conspiratorial effort to destroy nationalism and create a new world order, which the author calls the "Global Governance Agenda."

In Books in Canada, Jeb Blount applauded Dewar's description of the Green movement's tactics, goals, and claims, as well as her commentary on the links between government and environmental groups. However, he disagreed with her analysis that the talk and actions of environmentalists provide evidence, in Blount's words, of a "huge and sinister conspiracy" in which environmentalist and business interests are allied to transfer power to supranational organizations.

Bones: Discovering the First Americans provides profiles of several scientists who disagree with the prevailing theory that the ancestors of the Native Americans came to North America on foot over the Bering Strait during the last Ice Age. Dewar presents controversial evidence from archeology, folklore, and genetics that, according to some scientists, supports the notion that humans settled in South America as many as fifty thousand years ago. She also examines such issues as the Kennewick Man, a skeleton found in a Washington State riverbed; it has been described as Paleo-Indian, Caucasoid, and Ainu-Polynesian, and some researchers have even suggested that the remains indicate that Europeans, Polynesians, or some other groups beat the Native Americans to North America. Dewar describes this controversy, as well as the ensuing battle between native groups, scientists, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, over whether the skeleton should be studied or reburied.

Other indications of an early link to Europe include textiles found in Spirit Cave, in Nevada, that are similar to those found at central European archeological sites. On the other hand, a 13,500-year-old skull named "Luzia," found in southern Brazil, has been described as having "African" or "Aboriginal" features.

A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote of Bones: "Dewar is a keen observer of place and personality." The reviewer further commented that "the scientists she interviews are the real heart of the story she wishes to tell." In Canadian Geographic, Heather Pringle stated: "A gifted science writer, Dewar weaves a mesmerizing tale from all this intrigue." Report Newsmagazine contributor Martin Loney noted that "Dewar is at her best in taking the reader with her across the Americas to remote sites and museums, and to the offices and laboratories of the principal protagonists." Loney also pointed out that the "book is clearly attracting interest outside academic and political circles."

Dewar investigates the science, business, ethics, and politics of stem cells and cloning in her book The Second Tree: Of Clones, Chimeras and Quests for Immortality. Based largely on interviews with leaders in stem cell research and reproductive cloning, the author writes about advances in these fields and attempts to sort out the various ethical dilemmas and objections that have arisen in association with current research. For example, she explores the question of embryonic stem cell research and whether or not it is immoral to manipulate a human egg. In a review in Publishers Weekly, a contributor wrote that the book is as much about the author's "personal journey" as it is about the science and ethics involved, adding that the author "does a very good job of presenting both the science and the excitement of the field." Walter L. Cressler, writing in the Library Journal, commented on the author's "highly developed sense of moral outrage." A Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded: "The not-hidden agenda of the text is the oft-repeated refrain that science and capitalism now go hand in hand."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2002, Philip Herbst, review of Bones: Discovering the First Americans, p. 785.

Books in Canada, March, 1996, Jeb Blount, "Cheating on Mother Nature," p. 27.

Canadian Book Review Annual, 1995, Simon Dalby, review of Cloak of Green, p. 432.

Canadian Geographic, March, 2001, Heather Pringle, "Bones of Contention," p. 83.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2004, review of The Second Tree: Of Clones, Chimeras and Quests for Immortality, p. 1076.

Library Journal, January, 2005, Walter L. Cressler, review of The Second Tree, p. 142.

Maclean's, July 24, 1995, Mark Nichols, review of Cloak of Green, p. 51; March 19, 2001, Brian Bethune, "Mystery of the First North Americans," p. 24.

Publishers Weekly, January 28, 2002, review of Bones, p. 280; November 22, 2004, review of The Second Tree, p. 51.

Quill and Quire, September, 1995, Stephanie Thorson, review of Cloak of Green, p. 63.

Report Newsmagazine, July 30, 2001, Martin Loney, "Aboriginal Origins: New Finds Cast Doubt on the Long-Dominant Theory of Settlement in the Americas."

ONLINE

Writersfest.com,http://www.writersfest.com/ (October 22, 2004).

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