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Charles Darwin. Voyaging (Volume 1): Voyaging Vol 1 Paperback – 7 Aug 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New Ed edition (7 Aug. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844133141
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844133147
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 4.7 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Brilliantly penetrating...utterly riveting" (Daily Telegraph)

"Browne knows how to spellbind the reader... The definitive Darwin biography" (Ernst Mayr New York Newsday)

"An authoritative and highly readable biography which uncovers the complex process of scientific discovery" (Independent)

"It is wonderful and marvellous, even magisterial" (Stephen Jay Gould New York Review of Books)

"Splendid. Her qualifications as a trained biologist, historian of science and skilled editor of the correspondence out her in an ideal position... A wonderful read" (Nature)

Book Description

'An astonishingly fresh picture of the great naturalist - Janet Browne's book is a triumph, the closest we can come to getting inside Darwin's mind' Sunday Telegraph

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 24 Aug. 1998
Format: Paperback
Janet Browne's biography of Charles Darwin is the best I've read thus far. Her style is limpid and concise, and she succeeds wonderfully in taking us back to the intelectual and social atmosphere of 19th century England. Most importantly, she provides a detailed account of the dynamics on both sides of Darwin's family, and at the end we can understand many of the driving forces behind Darwin's success. Browne's book is definitively not hagiographic; rather, it tries to put Darwin in a definite context, making it clear that he benefited from many people around him. I cannot wait for the second part of her biography!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Maurer on 9 May 2006
Format: Paperback
After reading Origin of Species and then the Voyage of the Beagle I was eager to learn more about the "father" of evolution and I could not have hoped for a more thorough biography.

The author has clearly done a huge amount of research to provide this fascinating portrait Darwin. Providing backgrounds of his immediate ancestors, then his childhood leading through to adulthood and his own family. Allowing you to understand how and why his line of thinking led him to write the Origin of Species.

It's well written and absorbing. I often forgot I was on the tube whilst engrossed.

When I got to the end I immediately went hunting for the second instalment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kim Hatton on 12 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'Voyaging' and 'The Power of Place' appear as two separate volumes but constitute parts 1 and 2 of Janet Browne's majestic biography of Darwin.They were recommended to me - in this bicentennial anniversary year - as the best book - in the sense of best researched, argued and expressed - available in the field and I can't disagree with this assessment . However I did find assimilating 1200 pages difficult.

The author handles a huge cast of characters - including Darwin's family and friends together with scientists, intellectuals and people of influence - and explains and elucidates the social conditions and conventions from Darwin's Regency roots to archetypical Victorian maturity. Simultaneously she traces the history of Darwin's scientific thought from his early days as a beetle collector through his time as naturalist on the Beagle to his last years observing earthworms. She follows the genesis of his doubts on the immutability of species through the development of his theory of their source (in variability and selection) and his hesitations to publish his work when its implications became clear.

While I can't for a moment fault this it was hard to digest so much detailed material. I found myself comparing it with Desmond & Moore's 1992 biography which - although it has been challenged on the accuracy of some conclusions - was an easier read. Janet Browne has unquestionably written the definitive Darwin biography but if at any time she saw fit to write a shortened or 'student's' version it could reach a wider audience and have a more popular appeal.
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By F Henwood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback
So what sort of man was Darwin? He was not born in 1809 to be a revolutionary. Although the grandson of bon vivant and freethinker Erasmus Darwin, and broadly Whiggish in his persuasion, there is no presage from Darwin's early intellectual development of the godless implications of his theory of evolution. His forefather aside, and his earlier, abortive, education as a medical student at Edinburgh, where he would have been exposed to heretical anti-Anglican establishment thinking, nothing in early life seemed to weaken the foundations of his cultural Anglicanism.

His aimless years as a student and young man were transformed by his five-year voyage on HMS Beagle, from 1831 to 1836, of which the greater part of his years overseas was spent on dry land, much of it in South America. This confirmed his calling as a naturalist but not as an atheist. If not a literal believer of the biblical account of creation (by no means alone among his peers in thinking this) he was culturally Anglican, a deist in a watery sense, and sympathetic to the ideological aims of evangelicals and missionaries abroad. He publicly defended the activities of missionary societies in Tahiti and New Zealand, based on his encounters with their work when visiting these places on his voyage. His disillusionment with Christianity was to come later, with the corrosive effects of the implications of his research and the death of a beloved daughter Anne in 1851.

After his return to England in 1836, the next 20 years were spent in assiduously collecting artifacts and evidence, reading and corresponding with other scientists. It was in this time that the seeds for his theory of evolution germinated. In his studies of Galapagos finches, he came to realize that species were not immutable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Jamieson on 14 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Stunning two volume biography. I've read it twice now. Once for the content and once for the sheer pleasure of it.
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