Correspondence between Pontecorvo and James Dewey ("Jim") Watson concerning Pontecorvo's comments on his manuscript Honest Jim

Scope and Content

Honest Jim was an early typescript draft manuscript of what later became known as the The Double Helix: a personal account of the discovery of the structure of DNA (1968). In his letter Pontecorvo explained how he read the draft with "absorbing interest" and could not see any reason why it could not be published "more or less as it stands". He also brought up the topic of Francis Crick's "lack of enthusiasm" and asked Watson if he wanted him to intervene by suggesting that Crick add his story to the book or publish two separate books to appear on the same date so that, "the purely historical interest would be safeguarded and the literary value of your [Watson's] text would have its own recognition". In Watson's reply he asked Pontecorvo not to intervene.