on 8 September 2003
It is written in a very readable style that covers evolution from the beginnings of life on earth through to human evolution with chapters devoted also to Darwin and the discovery of evolution. The story of evolution is fascinatingly told with explanations of the parts played by extinctions, mutations, natural selection etc. The many vignettes and examples of evolutionary history and complex design in the animal kingdom are amazing and will make you marvel at the miraclulousness of life on Earth.
Although it was produced in tandem with a television series, this book easily stands alone as being excellent in its own right.
on 17 September 2008
This book, especially the hardback version is well written and very very interesting. I read a lot of scientific books and this is one of my favourites. The hardback is packed with really good images. Anyway I thoroughly recommend it, its simple enough for begginers to the subject and so well written even post grads will find it interesting.
on 7 August 2011
The hardcover version of this book is gorgeous, full of glossy pages and fabulous photographs. But this is no mere table top publication, light on content. The chapters cover:
Darwin's voyage on the Beagle
The background to his publication of Origin of Species
A timeline of the development of life on Earth over 4 billion years
The biological ways in which natural selection works
The tree of life, from bacteria to humans
The ways in which natural selection is limited by the need to build on pre-existing forms
Mass extinctions over the life of the Earth
Co-evolution, and the arms race between predators and prey
The relevance of evolution to medicine, including HIV
The impact of natural selection of sexual behaviours
The impact of social practices on human evolution
The development of homo sapiens and the neanderthals
A critique of creationism and intelligent design
It is therefore comprehensive and extremely well written, easily accessible to the general reader with an interest in biology. The treatment of controversial areas such as evolutionary psychology and creationism is very even handed. Simply the best book on the subject for the non-specialist reader.
on 11 August 2005
This would have been a five star book if clarity had been the only consideration. If you a new student of any biological science this is the perfect introductory text. Zimmer explains complex processes in such a simple way yu feel stupid for ever being confused. but, content too has to bejudged and while there's nothing wrong with whats in here, it just isn't quite up to Dawkins 'The Selfish Gene' which is basically the same text but with a little more detail and much more baffaling language (well, if your not used to the concepts...its easy now). i say if your a first year student, read Zimmer, then go on to dawkins to make sure you get the nuts and bolts to add detail to the concepts.