- Hardcover: 712 pages
- Publisher: Benediction Books (4 Nov. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1849029334
- ISBN-13: 978-1849029339
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.3 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 210,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (Volumes I and II, Hardback) Hardcover – 4 Nov 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
It is naive, as Dawkins points out in his introduction, to consider the views of this Victorian gentleman (politically conservative, scientifically radical) through post-Nazi hindsight. Contrary to popular belief, Darwinism does not excuse mass extermination in pursuit of 'perfection'; indeed, lengthy passages of this book are given over to emphasising that 'savage' races (an uncontroversial label at the time, whose meaning has since drifted) are not separate species or sub-human. Darwin's limited recommendations for improving ourselves must be considered with this qualification; let us not forget that at the time such views were entirely acceptable.
Darwin accounts for racial differences through sexual selection: superficial but diverse surface differences masking underlyingly highly similar organisms.Read more ›
Such works as this need to be read with an appreciation of the context in which they were written i.e. a long time ago and within an entirely different world view. Cheap, agenda-ridden, pseudo-intellectual critisism made with the benefit of hindsight and taking a twenty-first century perspective will hopefully not dissuade people from accessing fantastic source material such as this and making their own minds up. Read it, and make your own mind up (before somebody else does it for you).
This book is beutifull. Darwin had obviously found mass condemnation from The Origin Of Species,. but also mass acceptance by many, especially from the scientific community. This book is written by a true scientist, who backs up his arguments with as much evidence as possible, but without going overboard. His target audience is not the ignorant who refuse to accept evolution regardless of the available evidence. When read in context, and freed from the fear of mass condemnation which haunted Darwin throughout The Origin Of Species we are given a chance to really see Darwin's genius. When reading this I got the impression that Darwin, freed from the narrow minded ideas of his own time, and given a slight push, could have taken the theory of evolution and advanced it to it's modern state.
It is true that Darwin's theory has been twisted as a justification of the holocaust, and other racial crimes. However, it must be pointed out that Evolution is not alone, many theories can be twisted to justify evil. Also, there is another way of looking at the ladder theory of evolution, which is the way in which the British empire took it. The British helped out other peoples throughout the world, and the plan at least was to stand them up on their own two feet.
There is a very interesting point in thie edition. Karl Marx loved the idea of survival of the fittest.Read more ›
Gosh, this is a long book.
There are three sections. Sections I and III look at the evidence for the development of humans from more primitive creatures and sexual selection in humans. Section II (about half the book) is devoted to sexual selection in everything from insects to mammals.
So is it worth reading? In their introduction, Adrian Desmond and James Moore suggest that it forms the second volume of a trilogy (with On the Origin of Species and The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals) and that you really need to read all three to understand Darwinism as Darwin saw it. Part of this is to do with Darwin's two big ideas: natural selection and sexual selection. The other part is about the interrelationship of Darwin's science with the worldview of a Victorian country gentleman and the politics of the day; not least the politics of race, which is explored more thoroughly in Desmond and Moore's recent Darwin's Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery and the Quest for Human Origins.
If you're serious about Darwin and have read "On the Origin of Species", I would recommend tackling this, although you might be forgiven for not ploughing through the whole of Section II. As other reviewers have mentioned, Darwin's language, his views on race and gender and his ideas on the "improvement" of the human race can make uncomfortable reading in the 21st century.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written. Feels like On the Origin of Species volume two. There is more focus on sexual selection than the title suggests, although human evolution is still covered in great... Read morePublished 7 months ago by L.W
When Charles Darwin in 1859 finally made public his theory of evolution by natural selection in “On the Origin of Species”, he avoided writing about human evolution, except for... Read morePublished 8 months ago by P. Webster
You would not expect in 2016 to get a book typed on a typewriter or the original text (which was typed on a typewriter) was photocopied and put together with a hardcover. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Sahir
Let's put it his way, Richard Dawkins loves Darwin, as did Karl Marx and Marx wrote Engels regarding his wife's inhertence, of which he couldn't wait to get his hsnds on. Bath? Read morePublished on 26 Oct. 2014 by movamental
Charles Darwin published this book 12 years after 'The Origin of Species', his very controversial volume that had introduced his idea of evolution by natural selection to the... Read morePublished on 11 Sept. 2013 by Legal Vampire
You might want to know that this only contains Volume 2 of the Descent of Man so if you want to start at the beginning you will have to get Volume 1. Read morePublished on 29 July 2011 by A. Bryan
This book is heavily, in its first part, speaking of a lot more than genetics, and certainly not of sexual preferences in that field. Read morePublished on 14 Oct. 2010 by Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
Just something that you should read if you are going to study Psychology like me. The book doesnt really need that much explaining as if your looking for it you know what it... Read morePublished on 19 Sept. 2010 by D
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