Gould: Wonderful Life - the Burgess Shale & the Nature of History (Cloth): The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History Hardcover – 22 Nov 1989
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Gould at his best. . . . The message of history is superbly conveyed. . . . Recommended reading for scientists and nonscientists of all persuasions. --Walter C. Sweet"
Luminous. . . . Filled with profound and upsetting ideas like the Burgess Shale itself and just as solid. It is surely one of nature's best stories, told with a light touch by a master of the field. --Lewis Thomas, M.D."
There is no question about the historical importance of the Burgess Shale, and Gould is right when he says that it deserves a place in the public consciousness along with big bangs and black holes. . . . A compelling story, told with characteristic verve. --Richard A. Fortey"
About the Author
Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.
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Top Customer Reviews
Gould writes about the people who spent hour after painstaking hour examining the samples, deciphering the forms and understanding the compressed fossils in this rock formation. In the second part of the book he writes about Walcott, administrator at the Smithsonian institute until he died, and his error in the analysis in the samples. He then considers the what if questions that evolution throws up, in the final part.
I found the writing style to be quite dry and technical. Understandable to a certain extent given the subject matter, but my feeling is with science writers is that they should make the subject that they are writing about come alive, and this book didn't do it for me. The part on Walcott was good, he was a man who had a lot of influence and authority in the scientific advances in America, but he suffered some fundamental flaws.
This was written 20 or so years ago now, and in its time would have been a seminal work; now it is still important, but understanding of the creatures in the Burgess shale are now better understood and technology can bring them to life in ways that Gould could have never of considered.
A bit wordy and the illustrations are not very good (perhaps only in this cheap edition?) but very interesting - a classic in its genre.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
What afascinating read. I thoughrolly enjoyed it. The book has drawings of the really wierd creatures that lived in the Cambrian sea, and describes them clearly. Read morePublished on 25 Dec. 2011 by Alan