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The Portable Darwin (Viking Portable Library) [Paperback]

Charles Darwin , Graham Porter , Duncan M. Porter , Peter W. Graham
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

24 Feb 1994 Viking Portable Library
Charles Darwin's notes from his voyage on the "Beagle" brought about the reinvention of the natural sciences and irrevocably altered the way humanity saw itself. This anthology encapsulates the grand arc of Darwin's thoughts on the origin of species, natural history, "savage" man and child psychology. This book contains five chapters on "The Origin of Species", along with major extracts from Darwin's preceding works, scientific papers, travel writings, letters and a family memorial.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 561 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Portable Library (24 Feb 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140151095
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140151091
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.8 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,437,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Charles Darwin was born in Shrewsbury in 1809 and was educated at Shrewsbury School, Edinburgh University and Christ's College Cambridge. He took his degree in 1831 and in the same year embarked on a five-year voyage on HMS Beagle as a companion to the captain; the purpose of the voyage was to chart the coasts of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and to carry a chain of chronometric readings round the world.

While he was away some of his letters on scientific matters were privately published, and on his return he at once took his place among the leading men of science. In 1839 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. Most of the rest of his life was occupied in publishing the findings of the voyage and in documenting his theory of the transmutation of species. On the origin of species by means of natural selection appeared in 1859.

Darwin spent many years with his wife - his cousin Emma Wedgwood, whom he had married in 1839 - and their children at Down House in Kent. He died in 1882, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Selection 16 July 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book is very good especially if you haven't read very much about Darwin and are not familiar with his works. The selections are good representations of his overall work and the editor's notes are helpful. An index would be nice.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Selection 16 July 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is very good especially if you haven't read very much about Darwin and are not familiar with his works. The selections are good representations of his overall work and the editor's notes are helpful. An index would be nice.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to the usual "Portable" standard 9 July 2008
By Kerry Walters - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Darwin was a voluminous, almost compulsive author. He preserved nearly all the unpublished notes, records, and manuscripts he ever scribbled. Beginning in 1839, a steady stream of published essays, monographs, and books flowed from his Kentish home, Down House. In addition, he wrote over 13,000 preserved letters.

Culling through all of this stuff to put together a Portable Darwin must've been a formidable task. So I mean no disrespect when I say that the editors of this volume could've selected more judiciously. Volumes in the Portable readers are intended, I presume, to introduce the general public to representative selections from designated authors. So in the Portable Darwin, editors Porter and Graham have done well to provide generous selections from the Beagle Journals, Origin, and Descent of Man.

But does the average reader really need to be familiar with Darwin's monographs on the effects of salt water on seeds or the formation of vegetable mold by worms? Wouldn't the reader new to Darwin have been better served, for example, by some of the fascinating selections from his letters in which he writes about his religious and moral beliefs? Granted, we have a taste or two of those thoughts buried in the larger selections offered in the Portable, and one short letter on the morality of vivisection. But in relation to all the other selections--including (yawn) studies of coral reef formations--its all too little.

Finally, in a volume of this kind, an index really is indispensible.
5.0 out of 5 stars Research Goldmine 18 Jun 2014
By Trib - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A gold mine of research. If you are looking to read whole texts, then just buy those. This is many excerpts (some large chunks), in addition to letters and notes. Great for picking a page at random or for reading cover to cover.
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