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The Voyage of the Beagle: Charles Darwin's Journal of Researches (Classics) Paperback – 29 Jun 1989

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The Voyage of the Beagle: Charles Darwin's Journal of Researches (Classics) + On the Origin of Species (Oxford World's Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Abridged Ed edition (29 Jun. 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014043268X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140432688
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,659 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Charles Darwin (1809-82) was an evolutionary scientist, best-known for his controversial and ground-breaking work of non-fiction Origin of Species, and for his theories on the survival of the fittest. M.Neve is based at the Wellcome Trust, UCL. He teaches and researches the history of psychiatry and life sciences.

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"JAN. 16TH, 1832 - The neighbourhood of Porto Prava, viewed from the sea, wears a desolate aspect." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By bernie TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 25 Dec. 2000
Format: Paperback
Remember this says "Journal" and that is what it is. It is his first parson adventures on and off the Beagle. He even includes stories about the people on the ship, the ship's life, and maintenance. He is always going ashore and venturing beyond the ship charter to go where no Englishman has gone before. He makes friends with tyrants and the down trodden. Once, to get an animal to come to him, he lay on his back and waved his arms and legs in the air. Whatever you do, do not turn your back on him. He is always knocking something on the head and taking it back for study. It is fun trying to match the old names for places with the new.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By hbw VINE VOICE on 19 Oct. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a familiar story. Med-school drop-out Charles Darwin is being pestered by his dad to settle down and get a proper job. Meanwhile, Darwin Jnr., having finally got a degree (of sorts), hangs around Cambridge showing every sign of becoming a perpetual student.

Then in 1831, he gets the opportunity to join HMS Beagle for the trip of a lifetime. So, having persuaded dad to bankroll him, he sets off on something between a scientific Grand Tour and an extended gap year. Blogging hasn't been invented, so he keeps a journal.

If you're nervous about finding yourself all at sea in stodgy early 19th century scientific prose; don't worry. The writing has a real freshness and vitality. Darwin is fascinated by everything; a keen observer with a real gift for describing everything he sees and everyone he meets. It took me a couple of chapters to get the hang of Darwin's style, but after that I was hooked.

The Penguin edition is based on the earliest published version and the text has been cut to two-thirds of its original length, reducing it to the length of a standard paperback. Short chapters and diary-style entries break the text up into chunks suitable for reading on the bus or train.

Extras include a copy of the Admiralty's official instructions for the voyage which include, amongst other things, invectives against over-artistic mapmakers and advice on avoiding trouble with native populations. There's also a good map, a who's who of explorers and an excellent introduction that puts the voyage into its historical context. A glossary would have been welcome as would English translations of Darwin's occasional excursions into French or Latin.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Old Flozer on 5 Oct. 2006
Format: Paperback
having read Origin of Species, I was expecting this to be rewarding but a little dusty - and was delighted at how hugely readable it is. Darwin's descriptions of not just the natural world but also the human cultures at the time really bring the era to life - though he is not afraid to express judgements, and Australians and New Zealanders in particular might not be too flattered by his comments! The book is also often hilariously 'non-PC'; whenever he finds some rare beast which has never met and so is unafraid of mankind, he doesn't hesitate to knock it on the head and have it stuffed.... Absolutely recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Ringrose on 2 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a relatively short and easy book to read, and I enjoyed it. I think it has been heavily abridged which is a blessing because Darwin does tend to be very detailed. There are two helpful maps at the beginning of the book, which helps greatly with the geography, particularly South America.

Sadly we get very little information about the sea voyages and I suppose this is because Darwin was a terrible traveller by sea. He clearly avoided it wherever he could, and actually it gave him plenty of time to explore species on land.

I would recommend this book. It is certainly a much more interesting read than "Origin of the Species".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sebastian Palmer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
Darwin's first publication was a surprise best seller of the time. Personally I'm not so surprised, as it's a very exciting read. It's hard to imagine the balding bearded sage of evolutionary theory as a young man. Until you read this, that is.

It's amazing to think of such a young person being so damn clever, and so well informed, and with such a voracious appetite for knowledge and understanding, making so many diverse observations, collecting so much data, and just generally being so perceptive and interested in so much of what he saw. And when you remember the conditions of the times, and the privations of such a long and arduous journey, his achievements (and that of others like him across the years) seem even more astonishing.

'The Voyage Of The Beagle' adds some sort of real life 'Indiana Jones' aspect to the venerable figure of Darwin, only rather than making him appear like a vacuous macho booty hunter, it strengthens the sense of dignity and purpose that Darwin seems to have had, adding to it elements of his adventurous risk-taking youth that one might otherwise miss, if one only read his later works.
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By F Henwood TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 16 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This an abridged edition of Charles Darwin's journal of researches first published in 1845.

Darwin as we know spent five formative years voyaging around the globe on HMS Beagle - although of those five years, only 18 months was spent at sea.

Hence the book mostly details his experiences on land, being a detailed account of his observations of fauna, flora and geology of the lands he visited, combined with vivid observations of the peoples he met along the way. There is barely (in this edition at any rate) any description of what life was like on-board HMS Beagle itself and no remarks are recorded about his impressions of Captain Fitzroy.

This isn't the book in which the theory of evolution is developed. At this stage, he is aware that species are not immutable but the description of the finches' beaks barely gets a few sentences in one paragraph. The penny was not to drop till much later. He also praises the efforts of missionaries in places like Tahiti and New Zealand. His break with Christianity has not come yet.

The book is a compilation of the recollections of a young man, whose personality and intellectual convictions are yet to be defined. It is also the picture of Darwin in his prime, as a physically vigorous young man of action, not the sickly recluse of Downe House that he was to become. He scales mountains in the Andes, journeys with gauchos in Argentina, encounters the indigenous people of Patagonia, Tahiti and New Zealand, and is caught in a catastrophic earthquake in Chile.

Occasionally the discussion strays into technical questions about the composition of rocks and unless you have some grounding in geology then you are likely to struggle with these (mostly brief) passages.
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