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The Autobiography of Charles Darwin: 1809-1882 [Paperback]

Charles Darwin , Francis Darwin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 4.94 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

8 Sep 2010
"My father's autobiographical recollections were written for his children, and written without any thought that they would ever be published. To many this may seem an impossibility; but those who knew my father will understand how it was not only possible, but natural. The autobiography bears the heading 'Recollections of the Development of my Mind and Character,' and end with the following note: "- Aug. 3, 1876. This sketch of my life was begun about May 28th at Hopedene (Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood's house in Surrey.), and since then I have written for nearly an hour on most afternoons." It will easily be understood that, in a narrative of a personal and intimate kind written for his wife and children, passages should occur which must here be omitted; and I have not thought it necessary to indicate where such omissions are made." Francis Darwin


Product details

  • Paperback: 98 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (8 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145380661X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453806616
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 20 x 13.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 924,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family History 14 April 2009
By Neutral VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Charles Darwin wrote the main narrative of his autobiography between May and August 1876 and enlarged it during the final six years of his life with fresh memories that occurred to him. It appeared in book form in 1887, five years after his death, edited by his son Francis and went through two reprints, the first in 1929 with a statement by Francis Darwin of his father's religious views. A second reprint appeared in 1950 edited with an introductory essay by G G Simpson.

Nora Barlow, Darwin's grand-daughter, brought out the first unexpurgated version in 1958, restoring some six thousands words which had been omitted from the original publication and amending trivial errors and alterations that had crept into the earlier versions. In addition she added an Appendix on the controversy with Samuel Butler who favoured earlier versions of evolution than that advocated by Darwin.

The reasons for the original omissions were bound up in divisions within the Darwin family, itself possibly based on the science of Charles and the religion of his wife Emma. Barlow recognised that evolutionary theory had a long history before Darwin's theory of natural selection, indeed, she points out that Darwin spent twenty years observing and experimenting before publishing his work. Barlow, who edited several of Darwin's books, is clearly proud of her grandfather's achievements claiming that although the time was ripe and change in the air, it was Darwin's vision which changed modes of thought.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the real story uncensored ! 23 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the ultimate (uncensored) text of his autobiography that every Darwin admirer should have in his possession. Nora Barlow (also family of Charles Darwin) finally allows the full text with annotations to be known by the public after the first publication of the autobiography by Darwin's son (on the request of Darwin's wife) left out parts too 'sensitive' for the 'Victorian mindset' (very intimate opinions/feelings and amazing reflections on religion given the time he lived in !). Although we can not blame the wife and son for this censureship, it made their first publication left wanting. This book is the final call, it is the real insight into the personal experience of his life of one the greatest brains of mankind.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A family view 19 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is Darwin's well known autobiography as presented by a modern author with plenty of embellishment and taste, making for good reading.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is the edited version!!! 31 Dec 2011
By Red
Format:Paperback
Don't make the mistake I did. I ordered this book when I was half asleep, I read the reviews (not very carefully) and bought it thinking it was the full unedited and annotated version.
It is not.
For the complete autobiography try here-The Autobiography of Charles Darwin:
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
56 of 57 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for Darwin enthusiasts 1 Jan 2003
By John Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Don't be put off by the rather grim portrait of Darwin that adorns this edition -and be aware that there are SEVERAL editions of the AUTOBIOGRAPHY, including a somewhat "censored" one in which Darwin's wife took out bits that she didn't like -perhaps the most interesting editions are the ones that put these bits back in but italicize or bold them so that you can get a sense of what wasn't "proper" in Emma's mind. This is by no means a definitive Life of Darwin (for that I strongly encourage you to read Janet Brown's excellent 2 part series)but it does give us a gentle portrait of Darwin as he saw himself in late middle age, and it has provided lots of grist for the historians & psychohistorians in their speculations about what Darwin felt about religion, his parents, etc. For my part it only reinforces my impression of a truly wonderful man who was constantly puzzled in a pleasant way with the diversity of life & living, and while he may have had personal demons to grapple with (don't we all?) he was still able to enjoy both his science and his friends and his family. It is primarily this enjoyment that I walk away with after reading this book. Oh yes, the grim portrait on the cover. I doubt that Darwin thought of himself like that, he was FUN, and I think he mostly HAD fun, apart from the periodic bouts with illness. My favorite "portrait" of Darwin is the fantasy picture of young Chas "hanging out" in high top sneakers that adorns Phil Darlington's too-long-out-of-print EVOLUTION FOR NATURALISTS.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable 8 Feb 2000
By Mohammad Gill - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed reading the autobiography. It is written in a simple and straightforward manner; the human side of the author emerges from the text clearly. Darwin was a simple man and an eminent scientist; there was nothing complex about him. He loved what he did for science and naturally wanted to be recognised for his contributions. Evolution was in the air in his time but probably not the way he presented it. He was responsible for formulating the concept of 'natural selection' which makes a whole deal of difference in the theory of evolution. As a scientist, he felt vulnerable perhaps like Newton who did not like to get embroiled in controversies and disputes with Robert Hooke and others. Newton refrained from publishing his work for a long period of time in order to avoid scientific disputes which however muddled the priority claim, later on, with Leibniz for the development of 'calculs'. Darwin hated to deal directly with similar situations such as the argument with Butler. Darwin depended on the advice of his family and friends for handling the argument with Butler. Curiously, however, a dispute on priority of developing the concept of natural selection that could have arisen with Wallace did not happen and both of them (Darwin and Wallace) stayed friends through out their lives. According to Reveal et al: "The story of interrelationship between the two men over their professional careers is one of gentlemanly: Darwin, the Country squire, living off inherited wealth and sound investments on a small estate working leisurely in the pursuit of evolution, and Wallace, the committed socialist, saved ultimately from abject poverty by Darwin and his friends who arranged a Crown pension, laboring seemingly forever in other's shadow".
REFERENCE "The Darwin - Wallace 1858 Evolution Paper", Introduction, prepared by James L. Reveal, Paul J. Bottino, and Charles F. Delviche, Mohammad A. Gill
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good personal explanation of Darwin's train of thought. 31 Mar 2003
By Roberto P. De Ferraz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A small book which covers a range of issues unknown to those who only got a glimpse of the man Charles Darwin trough his Origin of Species book. The background for the Origin of Species is all there : the influences he got from many people on his frame of mind and on his very particular way of thinking and of experimenting with things, the convivial relationship he had with some of the greatest men of his time, Herbert Spencer included, the love of hunting he later hesitatingly abandoned, the love his sisters devoted to him and the difficult relationship he had with his authoritarian (and rich) father, rich to a point that Charles knew that he never would have to fight for his own survital,etc...
It is interesting to know, for instance, that the first answer he got from his father Robert when Charles asked for his permission to the famous Beagle voyage was a resounding NO. And amazing as it seems, Charles in no way was against his father decision. Were not for the help of his beloved uncle, brother of his father, who was very much in favor of the trip and convinced Charles'father to revert his earlier decision, the world would wait some more time for his revolutionary theory of the evolution of the species trough Natural selection of the fittest.
A very interesting book, which has value added to it by the many letters included as appendices that treat on many interesting issues of Charles' life: the so-called Butler controversy, the letters refering to the first refusal of Charles Darwins father to his Beagle voyage and many others. I am sure you will not be disappointed.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A giant's great little memoir 25 Mar 2007
By H. Schneider - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The man had a sense of humour and did not, apparently, take himself as deadly serious as some of his modern proselytes do.
By which I do not want to imply any basic anti-Darwinism on my part, but a certain allergy to dogmatic hair splitting, noticed when reading some current discussions of Mr.Darwin's legacy.
The best parts of the book, for me, are those where he light-handedly defines his relation to predecessors, influencers, peers and successors, like e.g. his grandfather Erasmus Darwin (and his version of evolution), or Thomas Malthus (on populations and selection pressure), like Alfred Wallace, who co-fathered the theory of evolution by natural selection (and whose Malay Archipelago is my favorite travel book of all times), or like Herbert Spencer (the man about 'social Darwinism'), with whom CD disagrees completely.
I also like CD's thoughts on religion. One moment he defines himself as a definite atheist (regarding a personal interfering god), which surprised me, I did not think he was so clear about that. But then, next page, he backtracks and calls himself a theist in some other way of looking at things (the preceding intelligence). Then somehow he concludes that he is an agnostic. Sound attitude.
He does not really spend awfully much time and effort on this memoir, and that determines the easygoing character of this highly readable book. A must for all who are interested in 'the meaning of life'.
This edition by N.Barlow adds back some texts which had been purged by the family for this or that reason. That is a good thing. Unfortunately she also adds the whole dreary controversy called the Darwin-Butler disagreement, which is wholly superfluous.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Predicting Sucess. 25 Oct 2004
By Mary Leah Hedengren - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A great book both for its autobiographical voice (Darwin is surprisingly funny, especially when he describes his young life) and for the lovely extras Barlow, a descendent, has added. My personal favorite part, and one of the funniest, is the letter written by Darwin's uncle in his behalf to convince Darwin's father that letting him go on the Beagle won't be a waste. As we see the many difficulties of a guy who was, in his youth, a slacker, a major-jumper (so to speak) and a spendthrift, we wonder if maybe we aren't making to stiff a criterion for the

It's fun to think about to what degree Darwin's greatness (or influence) would have been predicted, whether he was just a product of the time, and how a man can spend his life describing and defending a boat trip he took in his 20s.
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