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On the Origin of Species: The Illustrated Edition Hardcover – Illustrated, 1 Nov 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling; Ill edition (1 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402756399
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402756399
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 24.1 x 26 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 327,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for the hardcover edition
"The most influential book in science gets a face-lift with some amazing graphics and Quammen's erudite editing."--"Library Journal" (The Best Sci-Tech books of 2008) "The perfect way to become acquainted with the authentic voice of the greatest biologist of all time, in a context provided by one of the finest scientific writers of today."--Gregory A. Petsko, "European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Journal
" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

David Quammen is an award-winning science, nature and travel writer whose work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Harper's, Rolling Stone and the New York Times Book Review. He is a Rhodes Scholar and has also garnered a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as winning the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing. He has also written several other books. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a "coffee table" sized book i.e. on the large side which is a bit of a shock if you are expecting something you can carry easily. However the plus side is the fantastic colour plates and the addition of supporting material from the Beagle voyage, Darwin's autobiography and journals. A book to enjoy whilst sitting comfortably at home rather than on public transport.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This large (and attractively cheap!) book is instantly appealing, crying out to be flipped through. There are hundreds of photographs and drawings of animals, plants, people and places, and portraits of Darwin and his peers. There are also many text panels livening up the main read with extracts from Darwin's "Voyage Of The Beagle", and his autobiography, and the volume of his life and letters produced by his son Francis. These panels tend to form an unrelated 'sub-plot' in each chapter, adding colour, context and interest.

Darwin's text is still one of the world's most important books and I was delighted to find his prose so graceful, his tone so calmly intelligent, and his intellect so sprawlingly compendious. His book went through six editions in his lifetime, during which he tinkered with the text to answer his critics; this version wisely presents the original and uncluttered first edition text. Although I understood evolution by natural selection well enough before (Dawkins fan), I had not realised the degree of detail and care that Darwin brought to his exposition, and the amount of evidence he marshals from so many directions (embryology, geology, geography, taxonomy...). He also anticipates his critics by laying out what he regards as the problems for the theory, as well as its strength. The work will be a tad dry for some readers' tastes (I took a month over it), but it is a quiet joy.

Quammen's introduction explores Darwin's life and puts his achievement in the context of the time. Included as an appendix is Darwin's introduction to the third edition, in which he diligently credits all those writers who had approached the same theory before him (including Wallace of course). There's also a biological glossary and a substantial index.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the most beautiful edition of Darwin's Origin of the Species I have come across. With lots of facsimiles of the original book, Darwin's letters and other memorabilia from the original it really adds to the book's content. Highly Recommended
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Format: Hardcover
A beautifully presented book. The original text, in a good sized font, is accompanied and enriched by illustrations and excerpts from original journals.
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Format: Hardcover
I was expecting an original copy of the text but with colour illustrations. However, many of the illustrations appear to be unrelated to the text. Also, if you want the background 'DVD Extras' type book, with additional text and letters, then this is for you. A hefty tome - more coffee table than bedtime reading.

Personally I want more original, less 'value add' - but then again, I never watch the DVD extras.

Also the paper was slightly undulating as if it had become damp then dried out. Can't complain for the price though.

Lots to love about this book for the price.
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Format: Hardcover
This book has been produced on the premise that two beautiful things, when put together, make something even more beautiful, just like wine and cheese, a sail on the sea, the singer and a song, a dove on its leafy branch, a man and a woman. Right? Wrong! Our lives are just not that simple as a few seconds further thought will confirm. How about olives and custard, a modern highway beside a country cottage, an opera singer bugling a rock song, a bickering pair of ex-partners?

More than others, I would expect those in the world of art and literature to understand that a beautiful object becomes more beautiful through its harmonious relation to others. In a partnership, each must speak to the other--strikingly, wittily, subtly, shockingly, artistically--in one way or another but the conversation must take place and it must engage. Sadly in this edition, the powerful words of Darwin's Origin of Species and the illustrations--a series of stunning images and quotations taken from his other books, notably The Voyage of the Beagle and The Autobiography of Charles Darwin--do not speak to one-another at all. They lie in stark isolation on the same page, a conglomeration of words and images, as scrambled as a dog's breakfast.

To take just one example, Chapter 1 on "domestication" is full of Darwin's observations and explanations about breeding of domestic animals--pigeons, dogs, cattle, domestic hens. It could so easily have been illustrated by contemporary drawings and paintings, many by Darwin himself, of domestic breeds. What do we get? Tropical forests, HMS Beagle, Captain Fitzroy, flamingos, a photo of ants and extracts from the Voyage of the Beagle. It is the same throughout the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yesterday morning I finally finished my Kindle version of this seminal work. As I read through the last and famous paragraph I was struck by three incongruent words; "by the Creator". I reread the sentence again to check that I had not misunderstood but it still looked out of place. Later in the day I began to read a paperback version of Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion". On page 32 Dawkins quotes the same paragraph but without the reference to "the Creator". It seemed highly unlikely that Richard Dawkins would have risked his academic credibility by misquoting Darwin, so I checked the quotation from other sources on the internet; none of which contained the words "by the Creator". The two sentences are shown below;

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." Dawkins and others sources.

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved." Kindle Edition

I appreciate that Kindle versions are prepared by volunteers and, therefore, accept the occasional errors of grammar and spelling, but this cannot have been an error. How much more of the Kindle version that I purchased has been amended to give a Creationist spin to Darwin's Theory and how many readers have been unwittingly mislead?
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