Top critical review
40 people found this helpful
Easy to follow, but labours the point a little too much
on 30 January 2002
I thought this book started off really well, and as well as discussing evolution there were lots of interesting sidelines about various different animals and how they have developed interesting features (like how bats have something similar to radar). I was also really interested in some of the facts about animals that evolved since the dinosaurs but have not made it into today's animal kingdom (rhinos as big as a house!). Coincidentally, I read this book whilst there were several nature programs running (including the BBC's 'walking with beasts') which also touched on the subject of historical animals that have since become extinct, and this made the whole subject all the more interesting for me. The only problem is with the latter half of this book, where instead of taking us on a tour of how interesting and exciting the effects of evolution have been, the focus was shifted onto a more argumentative explanation of how all the other theories must be wrong. I realise that Richard Dawkins has (quite justifiably) got a bee in his bonnet about creationism and other rival theories, but I found that I had to force myself through the last few chapters just to get the book finished. He wanted to give his answer to every challenge against Darwinism that he's ever encountered, and make sure that he gave an absolutely water-tight response to it. This may be necessary to convince all the anti-Darwinians, but for me it became a bit boring. I was a little disappointed that the conclusion of the book was written more to persuade the non-believers than to interest the already-converted. I would have preferred a more exciting scientific ending, I think.