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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning evocation of the man, his work and his time, 1 Jan. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Darwin (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
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary achievement, 12 Nov. 2009
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This review is from: Darwin (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
5.0 out of 5 stars The enthralling life of a great man of science, 4 Oct. 2010
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P. L. D. Taylor "Patrick Taylor" (Somerset, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darwin (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
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive biography of one of the great men of science, 7 Oct. 2012
By 
Dr. H. A. Jones "Howard Jones" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darwin (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
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive insight into the man and his time, 15 Nov. 2008
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A. Jordan (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darwin (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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5.0 out of 5 stars The best biography I have ever read, 6 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Darwin (Paperback)
I can' think of a biography that I have enjoyed more or been more impressed by. (1) It is extremely well-written, which makes it a very easy read. It is a wonderful story as much as anything else. (2) The book sets Darwin's life very nicely context - religious, scientific, political - and does so without labouring the point, providing just a nice amount of detail. (3) The theory of evolution is, of course, intrinsically interesting and important. I got it on kindle and am considering getting the hard copy as well, just because it's one of those books that I would like to have on my shelves, and would like to hold onto. I will definitely be reading it again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sets Darwin's development of his great evolutionary theory firmly in the context of his times and class, 2 Jan. 2014
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Dr. Julia Aked (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darwin (Paperback)
Takes the reader on a fascinating journey through Darwin's life, highlighting the dilemmas he faced as he amassed facts and theories which would overturn the prevailing world views of the Anglican Church and the Victorian middle classes. Based on the mass of documents left by Darwin and his contemporaries, it also provides fascinating social and historical insights into Victorian Britain.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very extensive history, 17 May 2013
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This review is from: Darwin (Hardcover)
Desmond and Moore's book puts Darwin in the political and cultural context of his time. This biography does not focus so extensively on Darwin's family life as dsome others have done.
Generally a very thorough history, although I would have liked to have read more about Darwin's close friendship and extensive correspondence with Asa Gray.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential for the Darwin student, 9 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Darwin (Hardcover)
It's a big book and I am amazed you assume I have read it by now! (I have.) The size of this volume is a reflection of the stature of this man. However Desmond and Moore have produced this definitive and eminently readable biography. Suitable both for serious students and the non-academic reader. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't be happier!, 7 May 2015
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This review is from: Darwin (Paperback)
Great book. Goes into the social, cultural, and historical context that Darwin lived in. This gives you a deeper understanding of the man.
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Darwin
Darwin by James R Moore (Paperback - 29 Oct. 1992)
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