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Darwin Paperback – 29 Oct 1992


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Product details

  • Paperback: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (29 Oct. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140131922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140131925
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 151,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

At last, a biography to match the man. . . . Darwin, his family, his colleagues, and his milieu come alive in this book. . . . Superbly written.--Everett Menselson, Harvard University

About the Author

Adrian Desmond studied at London University and Harvard, has higher degrees in vertebrate palaeontology and the history of science, and a Ph.D. for his work on Victorian evolution. He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Biology Department at University College London. Adrian Desmond's bestselling Darwin (Penguin, 1992, written with James Moore), won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in Britain, the Grand Comisso Prize in Italy and the Watson Davis Prize from the History of Science Society in America. In 1997 the British Society for the History of Science awarded it the first Dingle Prize for the best book of the decade in communicating the history of science to a wide audience. His study of the pre-Darwinian generation, The Politics of Evolution (1989), received the Pfizer Award from the History of Science Society. He has also published The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs (1975), The Ape's Reflexion (1979) and Archetypes and Ancestors (1982). In 1993 the Society for the History of Natural History awarded him its Founders' Medal.

James Moore is a reader in history of science and technology at the Open University.


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First Sentence
CHARLES DARWIN'S grandfather Erasmus had a lacerating wit and a loathing of meddling gods. Read the first page
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Jan. 1999
Format: Paperback
For anyone with an interest in natural history, the Victorian era and the enigma of Darwin this book cannot fail to please. Revealed within its more than 600 pages of narrative (the rest of the book is index / bibliography) is the dramatic and fascinating story of how evolution travelled from heresy to accepted wisdom in the space of a single generation. Far from being a matter of purely scientific interest, evolution and natural selection went to the very heart of a country riven with conflict over the place of man in the scheme of things. The ruling classes and the wealthy clergy could not allow the idea of evolution to take hold - to accept that we are all descendants of apes is to accept that there is no fundamental difference between men of different classes and no overriding need for the Established Church (a mere invention of man).
Thus we see that Darwin was torn throughout his life between loyalty to his class (landed gentry) and loyalty to his science. Other men went to prison for denying the truths of Christianity but Darwin was no martyr. His approach was rather one of stealth - gradually pursuing his research and publishing only when the time was right, often many years after his discoveries were made.
A weak man physically we see a man of inner strength and possessing a determination to see the truth prevail.
From first to last this book is a masterpiece of its genre.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By James Gamble on 12 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
If you have even a passing interest in Darwin or the Victorian age this book will thrill you. It is very long and detailed but incredibly well-written and accessible. At times it is more like reading a gripping novel than a historical biography. Fully deserving of all the awards and accolades it received, it really places Darwin in his historical context and is as good a biography as I have ever read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By P. L. D. Taylor on 4 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
Charles Darwin's life was fascinating. It is brilliantly described in this book by Adrian Desmond and James Moore - essential reading for anyone with an interest in Darwin. It makes gripping reading, too, for any reader who wants to learn about Darwin.

Patrick Taylor
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. H. A. Jones TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
Darwin by Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Michael Joseph, London, 1991, 832 ff

By Howard Jones

I can add little to the detailed reviews of this book already published except to say that I agree that it is an exemplary biography of one of the great men of science. There are several short, succinct biographies of this great biologist by Jonathan Howard (Oxford), Wilma George (Fontana) and Mark Ridley (Granta), and books dealing specifically with Darwin's theology by Philip Kitcher (Oxford) and Nick Spencer (SPCK), especially in relation to Intelligent Design. But Desmond and Moore have given us a comprehensive, yet highly readable, account of Darwin's life and work, with all due credit given to Alfred Russel Wallace and his part in the development of the story of evolution. This book is an authoritative work and highly recommended. There is at the end a comprehensive Notes section, an extensive Bibliography, and a detailed Index.

Darwin: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith (Philosophy in Action)
Darwin and God
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Jordan on 15 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
I first read this book some ten years ago. It remains one of my very favourite biographies. As well as providing an excellent insight into the work of Darwin, it sets his life in the political and social context in which he lived. It is impressive that two authors have created a book which is such a compelling and enjoyable read.
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By Dr Mike Sutton on 21 Sept. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This superb book uses Darwin's letters, diary, notebooks and the literature to paint an honest and detailed picture of the man - some warts an all. If someone could ever do the same for Patrick Matthew, from whose 1831 book Darwin and Wallace are newly proven to have plagiarized the discovery of natural selection Nullius in Verba - Darwin's Greatest Secret then this book would take on an entirely different shade. The authors correctly and in detail make much of the reasons Darwin held off publishing and why he kept a divine creator in the scheme of things. And for this compromise he was buried in Westminster Abbey. Why then, ignoring the fact that the literature contains Matthew's own explanation (see:https://kindle.amazon.com/post/o_msC7XlRZ6zDtLauywWlA) that he could not promote his discovery in the early and mid 19th century, does the famous atheist Richard Dawkins ignore such historical facts to rhetorically insist that Matthew should have trumpeted his 1831 book from the rooftops when it, unlike Chambers's anonymous Vestiges, and unlike Darwin's 'Origin' bravely handed God his redundancy notice in its heretical appendix? Is it not because he worships his belief in the myth of Darwin over historical reality

The top Darwinist Richard Dawkins (2010 in Seeing Further: The Story of Science and the Royal Society") infamously believes that because Matthew did not trumpet his unique 1831 discovery from the rooftops that the poor sucker never knew what he had discovered.
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