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Darwin Paperback – 29 Oct 1992
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At last, a biography to match the man. . . . Darwin, his family, his colleagues, and his milieu come alive in this book. . . . Superbly written.--Everett Menselson, Harvard University
About the Author
Adrian Desmond studied at London University and Harvard, has higher degrees in vertebrate palaeontology and the history of science, and a Ph.D. for his work on Victorian evolution. He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Biology Department at University College London. Adrian Desmond's bestselling Darwin (Penguin, 1992, written with James Moore), won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in Britain, the Grand Comisso Prize in Italy and the Watson Davis Prize from the History of Science Society in America. In 1997 the British Society for the History of Science awarded it the first Dingle Prize for the best book of the decade in communicating the history of science to a wide audience. His study of the pre-Darwinian generation, The Politics of Evolution (1989), received the Pfizer Award from the History of Science Society. He has also published The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs (1975), The Ape's Reflexion (1979) and Archetypes and Ancestors (1982). In 1993 the Society for the History of Natural History awarded him its Founders' Medal.
James Moore is a reader in history of science and technology at the Open University.
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Top customer reviews
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.
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
Darwin's story goes hand in hand with the politics and religious change happening at that time, and there is much detail here too. In fact it is a major thread of the story how he delayed going public with his theories, and when he did, the effect they had on the world as well as his own personal life and health. Darwin was fully aware of the impact his ideas would have - in Victorian times religion, science, politics and economics were all closely interwoven, and he knew he would have a devastating effect on the status quo - in many ways potentially to the detriment to those close to him. He was never comfortable with this burden, but always had a steely confidence in his theories and an awareness of the importance his work would have in the advancement of the scientific understanding of the world.
The book makes liberal use of quotes, and these inspire confidence in the accuracy and thoroughness of the coverage. A highly recommended read and a superb historical account.
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She was looking for a book that told her more about the period in which Charles Darwin lived so she...Read more