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Darwin: a Norton Critical Edition Paperback – 14 Feb 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 3rd Revised edition edition (14 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393958493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393958492
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,034,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Simon Barrett 'Il Penseroso' on 19 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback
This admirable series (and company) deserves to be better known. (The company is the John Lewis of letters. Its British branch was established only in 1980.) This one gets universal praise on amazon.com. What needs saying is that only 160 of its 682 tightly packed pages are given over to The Man himself; the rest comprises a galaxy of related material, mainly looking forward to our own time. It's a resource no-one remotely interested in the subject will want to be without. Its onlie begetter, Professor Appleman (an English professor, incidentally) is a feisty 87. His Malthus, now in its second edition, also surely deserves a look
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Perhaps a classic among anthologies 18 Sep 2002
By Pumpkin King - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Natural selection is the idea that shaped a science and altered our understanding of life. It is also, unfortunately and too often, misunderstood and/or used to justify moral beliefs. This book, edited admirably by Philip Appleman serves two purposes. First, the reader is given Darwin's idea of evolution and the context in which it developed, from the scientific environment before the publication of "The Origin of Species" to selections from Darwin's various works. Second, there are a number of excerpts that show how natural selection influenced later thought. This includes not just the fields of science and theology, but also sociology, philosophy, and literature.
It can be difficult to just sit and read Darwin if you are not a biologist because it seems a little dated and obvious (at least if you are familiar with natural selection, as you should be). Additional material provides perspective and helps to see in what ways Darwin's work was revolutionary. Such material can also show how evolutionary ideas have been modified over time by different people. Appleman has obviously read widely on Darwin and evolution, and the readings he provides represents an array of influential and important works. With this book, a person can develop a much deeper appreciation of Darwin's ideas than from simply reading Darwin alone.
I am reviewing the second edition. The third edition is 100 pages longer and includes more recent material, especially concerning the dispute between creationism and evolution. I would not hesitate to recommend even the dated second edition to anyone interested in Darwin and Darwin's influence on scientists and other thinkers; this third edition should be a must-have.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
A Must Read 22 July 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I agree with Gould that this is the best Darwin anthology on the market. It contains a significant amount of new material and details the profound change in scientific and intellectual thought in the past few decades. Darwin is constantly misquoted by creationists, but this book sets the record straight. For example, the chapter on "mainstream Religious Support for Evolution" includes leading religious opinions on evolution, illustrating that many mainline Christians and Jews do NOT subscribe to the antiscientific propaganda of the fundamentalists and creationists. New threats to Darwinism and science are also covered. This is an enthralling read and I highly recommend it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Great Introduction to Darwin 10 Nov 2009
By Kevin M. Derby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Norton Critical Edition of Darwin is superb. Besides ample collections of Darwin's writings, this work also includes scientific thought before Darwin; religious arguments for and against evolution; contemporary scientific attacks and praise for Darwin and his theories; glances at the political, social and economic impact that Darwin had; and many other topics. Phillip Appleman should be commended for editing this collection. While he makes no secret of his biases in favor of Darwin, Appleman also includes a great deal of material against Darwin. Appleman also includes a number of his poems and, in the third edition of his collection, produced a masterful essay about Darwin sightings in modern literature. When you get down to it, Darwin and his discoveries impacted just about everything and the Norton Critical Edition of Darwin reflects this. This is book can be read by anyone with an interest in science, the humanities, religion, and just about anything else Darwin impacted. This is a rare text which can be enjoyed and used inside and outside of the classroom. It holds a special place of honor on my bookshelf. Highest recommendation.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Best Anthology I have Come Across on Any Topic 8 Jun 2012
By David Milliern - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't think of a better anthology; end of story.

Though very knowledgeable about the sciences, I knew very little or nothing about Darwin. That completely changed with the reading of this strategically compiled work. Appleman brilliantly selects apposite portions of Darwin's original texts, texts that served as influences upon Darwin, and excerpts from many of the major, relevant Darwinian authors of the twetniteth century. The flow and structure of this book is incredible, moving almost seamlessly from one authors work to the next; there really is a forged continuity, which eliminates the aspect of distraction that can be found in other anthologies.

Appleman does a particular kind of justice to Darwin, which too often gets ignored, namely, the literary contribution made by Darwin, as well as a look at Darwin's literary interests. This makes Appleman the right scholar for this compilation.

On top of this, I feel that Appleman provides the necessary philosophical excerpts, especially on ethics. Appleman is able to achieve this, without making the volume awkward by having a conceptual and historical development, as the book proceeds. I guarantee that, if you are a neophyte to Darwin's work or someone who wants to get a potent taste, without reading more than one book, Appleman's collection is the ticket.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Book to Learn From 12 Mar 2013
By MGrossman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Philip Appleman's Darwin is an excellent anthology incorporating excerpts from Darwin's works and critical essays on a wide variety of topics. This book is perfect for anyone looking to understand how Darwin's work influenced the world; how religion and science have come into conflict and resolved that conflict in recent years; how paradigm shifts occur and propagate; or how changes in scientific theory can affect all aspects of society.

Darwin is best known for The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, and this anthology focuses on these two works. The chapters given from these works are enough to give the reader a solid idea of the content and of Darwin's writing style, but they are not so lengthy as to prevent a non-biologist from digesting the material. These excerpts give the reader necessary background for discussing Darwin's theories and their impact, and this anthology provides a good framework for reading critical sections of Darwin's work.

The most valuable part of this anthology is the extensive collection of essays presenting all sides of the issues surrounding Darwin's work in domains ranging from science to religious theory and from social thought to literature. This range of topics helps to broaden the reader's horizons, as Darwin is most often associated with the controversy between evolutionism and creationism. However, the range of his work extended to feminism (e.g. Elizabeth Cady Stanton's "The Woman's Bible"), literature (e.g. Lionel Stevenson's "Darwin among the Poets"), ethics (e.g. Matt Ridley's "The Origins of Virtue"), and other fields, as well.

Regardless of the reader's religious beliefs, he or she can find an interesting case study in the attitudes of religious organizations towards evolution and natural selection as presented by Darwin. When the new paradigm of evolution was presented to the church, the response was strongly negative because evolution contradicted the strict teachings of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In his essay "Antievolution and Creationism in the United States", Eugenie C. Scott states that "A significant variable in understanding antievolutionism is the degree to which a literal interpretation of holy text is considered essential to theology" (534). Over time, as the paradigms of evolution and natural selection have become more accepted in the scientific community, the differences between religious doctrine and science have also been reconciled, at least somewhat. In Pope John Paul II's address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1996, he explains how the teachings of the church are not changed by the acceptance of evolution and natural selection; rather, the messages of the Bible still hold when it is not interpreted strictly literally (527). This gradual change in social acceptance of a new paradigm is a model for paradigm changes throughout history and in the future.

Darwin's work is also significant as a scientific text regarding the manner of conducting research. Darwin spent twenty years formulating his theories and gathering evidence after the Voyage of the Beagle before he published The Origin of Species; his work was sufficiently revolutionary that he needed to ensure it was strongly supported before showing it to the world. His writing style, even in The Origin of Species (which he considered to be only a brief and incomplete presentation of his theory), is full of evidence gathered through his travels and extensive studies. However, Darwin is also careful to avoid offending any of his readers unnecessarily with overly strong emphases of his theories. In his essay "Darwin and His Critics", David L. Hull suggests that the reason Darwin's work was so revolutionary is because of the way he presented his findings. Hull states that "Because Lamarck neglected the niceties of the sociology of science, his work was ignored with disdainful embarrassment. Because Mendel was too scrupulous in observing them, his work was overlooked. Darwin struck an appropriate compromise" (262). Reading Darwin's original text is therefore useful for scientific writers looking to present their work to an audience who may not be highly receptive.

Overall, Darwin is an excellent treatment of Darwin's work and the ensuing reaction. I highly recommend this anthology to be used in classrooms or for individual learning.
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