By combining the two books into one volume the publisher gives the reader the chance to see Darwin in two different stages of his life. The Voyage of the Beagle shows us the young Darwin, energetic and enthusiastic with a brilliant mind and a keen observer of everything he sees. This is a wonderful book and Darwin gives a facinating look at South America and Australia as it was 200 years ago. If you have ever been bored by some friend showing you his holiday snaps as he drones on about every detail of his holiday you might be put off buying a book describing a five year sea voyage but don't be fooled, this is Indiana Jones meets the theory of evolution. In the Origin of Species we have a much older but just as brilliant Darwin describing his theory of evolution by natural selection. He takes us through the basic idea and then uses it to explain why the natural world is the way we see it. The fundamental idea is brilliant in its simplicity and in its power to explain. What is all the more amazing is at the time Darwin was writing there was no concept of genetics and the discovery of DNA was 100 years away. Inevitably this book may appear a bit dry compared to the high adventure of The Voyage of the Beagle but the reader is more than compensated by the knowledge that they are reading one of the most important books every written in the history of mankind.