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Charles Darwin's Notebooks from the Voyage of the Beagle Hardcover – 2 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 650 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (2 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521517575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521517577
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 3.3 x 24.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,397,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

John van Wyhe is a historian of science and one of the world's leading experts on Darwin, Wallace and the history of evolutionary theory.
He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences, Department of History and a Fellow of Tembusu College at the National University of Singapore. He is the founder and Director of both Darwin Online and Wallace Online. He lectures and broadcasts around the world.

His research has resolved some of the most intractable mysteries and debunked some of the most long-standing myths in the field such as Darwin's delay, when Darwin received Wallace's evolution essay, whether Darwin was the naturalist or companion on HMS Beagle, where the legend of Darwin's finches comes from, whether Darwin lost his faith when his daughter Annie died and the legendary version of the life of A.R. Wallace as told by amateurs for the past decades.

His book Dispelling the Darkness, completely overturns the traditional story of Darwin, Wallace and how the theory of evolution by natural selection was conceived and made known to the world based on the most in-depth research programme ever undertaken on Wallace's voyage including editing Wallace Online, Wallace's voyage letters and notebooks to modern scholarly standards. As Janet Browne has written "The story of Wallace will never be the same again."

Product Description


'Not until now has it been possible to read in book form the immediate notes that Darwin himself had written in the little field notebooks that he carried with him … which takes us all the way to what a young man born two hundred years ago once saw when he was for some years very far from home.' Richard Darwin Keynes, editor of Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary (Cambridge University Press) and great-grandson of Darwin

'This is the first time that Darwin's day-to-day notebooks from the Beagle voyage have been published in their entirety and the result is quite simply stunning. … The result is to render what is often considered to be the least readable of all Darwin's material instantly accessible and engaging for all. … hardly a page goes by without some gem jumping out and hinting at the scientific giant he would become.' The Times Higher Education Supplement

'… impressive … a meticulously edited piece … It provides some interesting dimensions about how scientific observation was made two centuries ago … as an archival source, it could definitely help graduate students in their research related to Darwin.' PaleoAnthropology

Book Description

This is the first full edition of the fifteen notebooks used by Darwin during his Beagle voyage, which record his activities and interests in their most immediate form. The texts are accompanied by full editorial apparatus and introductions, focussing on discoveries convincing Darwin that life on Earth had evolved.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. Daglish on 29 Aug. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This publication is one of the best insights into the voyage of the Beagle and in particular the greatness of Charles Darwin in being able to incorporate all the different aspects of the flora fauna and animals which he met and/or discovered and explain in great detail how they impacted on our knowledge of the natural world and how the progession of natural selection had brought nature to that point in time. Very detailled and a joy to read. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves nature and the development of all life on our planet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 8 Oct. 2009
Format: Hardcover
This volume is an incomparable contribution to Darwinian scholarship. As well as the transcription of all the 15 Beagle notebooks, the authors supply energetic and elegant overviews of each, outlining the place the volume holds in the development of Darwinian theory. The minute geological zoological and botanical observations which served as the basic findings for the Origin of Species that we would expect, are accompanied by accounts of, for instance, the lot of local workers;descriptions of the demeanour of the inhabitants; meals to be endured rather than enjoyed: "savollas and water', and many other privations and dangers that the traveller suffered as well as the occasional delight: 'nobody knows the pleasure of reading till a few days of such indolence.' Copious illustrations add important detail. Absorbing and fascinating.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Ray on 4 April 2010
Format: Hardcover
A very detailed and wondeful book for fans of Darwin and the Beagle voyage round S. America and the Galapagos Islands. A book to dip into from time to time. Having cruised some the passages that the Beagle took and also to the Galapagos Islands I am facinated to learn about these areas in Darwin's time. A very cherished book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Another Darwin Gap Filled 13 Dec. 2009
By Ronald H. Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With this volume, we finally have the complete publication of all 15 field notebooks Darwin used on his historical Beagle voyage. These notebooks should not be confused with Darwin's published diaries of the voyage (in his autobiographies) or his "Journal of Researches" published in 1839. These are the actual notebooks Darwin used on the sea and on land, into which he wrote his impressions, data, interviews and suggestions for further research. This handsome volume (in library-tough binding) from Cambridge University Press is the result of 30 years of the editors working with Darwinian materials. Each of the 15 notebooks has its own introduction, and there are frequent photoduplications of notebook pages as well as other abundant illustrations throughout. There are all sorts of helpful aids included, for example diagram showing at which point in time each notebook was in use. Some helpful charts and maps used by Darwin and the crew also make an appearance. A foreword by Richard Darwin Keynes (a great-grandson), editor of Darwin's "Beagle Diary," opens the volume, followed by an excellent Introduction by the two editors. From these essays we learn some interesting background facts: Darwin considered himself primarily a geologist on the trip; 33% of the entries were made while on land; we learn about the history and physical configuration of the notebooks via reproductions and pictures; and how the use of the notebooks changed during the course of the voyage.

Since so much of Darwin's writing and writing about him spring from these sources, it is interesting to peek into them and see the original entries. The editors describe some of the challenges of working with the material, noting for example that Darwin wrote many of the entries on horseback or while moving around on foot--so penmanship is not of the highest quality. The authors have added other helpful touches: frequent annotations place Darwin's notebook entries into context; an extensive "Chronological Register" pins down where Darwin was at any point during the voyage;"Expedition Equipment" is addressed in another essay; and a fine bibliography and extensive index round out the volume. All told, the book runs some 600 pages of the finest typography and paper, with numerous illustrations and photoduplications; something to be considered given the high price of the book. One can only stand in amazement when reviewing the inexhaustible thoroughness of the entries--nothing missed Darwin's eye and his pen apparently. We are just plain fortunate that this outstanding volume has appeared with its potential to enhance ever further our understanding of this most unique indvidual during his bicentennial year.
The greatest discovery 30 April 2011
By Carl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If your looking for more than just written stories on Darwin's adventure and want to get to the source, this is the ultimate book for any history buff or any one wanting to know how Darwin came up with his evidence for evolution. All the notebooks from his voyage has been deciphered and explained and gone over to make it accessible to the general public. Well done by the researcher's including Darwin's descendent to go over and research this very important scientific voyage that has made us think of how we and all species on this planet have evolved through the natural process of evolution.
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