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Alfred Russel Wallace: A Rediscovered Life Paperback – March 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Michael A. Flannery is Professor and Associate Director for Historical Collections at the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Prof. Flannery has published extensively in medical history and bioethics, winning the prestigious Edward Kremers Award in 2001 for distinguished writing by an American from the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy and the 2006 Publications Award of the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Discovery Institute Press; 1st Edition edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0979014190
  • ISBN-13: 978-0979014192
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,220,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Erasmus on January 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
Fascinating, short biography of the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution by natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace. It turns out that Wallace--unlike his colleague Charles Darwin--believed in intelligent design. He started out by observing the features of human beings that didn't seem producible by unguided natural selection. But by the end of his life, he was finding detectable design throughout the universe and biological life, including in butterflies, bird's wings, the cell, and the origin of the first life. For those who are open to new ideas--and challenging long cherished assumptions--this book will be a rewarding read. No doubt die-hard Darwinists will dislike the shattering of some of their stereotypes about the history of science.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dave C on March 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
Alfred Russell Wallace: A Rediscovered Life is well worth your time on several levels. First, it is short: just 152 pages including appendices. Second, it tells an interesting story of a real life adventurer, who endured shipwreck and disease to bring thousands of specimens from two continents to the attention of science. Third, it "rediscovers" a life message that has been largely distorted by evolutionists seeking to ensure the historical primacy of Charles Darwin.

The revisionist narrative typically disparages Wallace as a lesser mind, a wayward child dabbling in pseudoscientific issues. I was pleased to find that the narrative is slanderous when Wallace's activities are seen in context. Most important, Wallace gave scholarly, well-thought-out positions against unguided natural selection, and argued forcefully for design at key points in the history of life: the origin of life, the origin of consciousness, and the origin of man. This is important coming from a lead character of the Darwinian revolution. Wallace was personally acquainted with the co-conspirators, yet remained undaunted in his independent views that, while evolutionary, are closer to today's intelligent design movement than to modern theistic evolution.

The book is enriched with potent excerpts from Wallace's own writings. While appreciative of Darwin as friend, Wallace was surprisingly anti-Darwinian in ideology. He was also a good writer. More people need to realize that for decades after Darwin's death the co-"discoverer" of natural selection gave design arguments with a mature mind, informed from much more field work than Darwin's, aware of the pressure from the Darwin party pushing science toward philosophical and methodological naturalism. Oh, the irony!
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By L. Bencze on March 21, 2011
Format: Paperback
Proponents of evolution tend to dismiss Wallace as a clever fellow who stumbled upon evolution by natural selection at about the same time as Darwin but lost his way when he entered the thickets of Spiritualism (seances and such). Proponents of Intelligent Design are more likely to regard Wallace as a founding father of the ID movement. Mr. Flannery dedicates his book to showing exactly how and why both camps are wrong.

Though there is considerable biographical information in the book, it is not really a biography per se. Rather it centers upon the philosophical underpinnings of the theory for which Darwin is given full credit in our time. (In the 19th century it was commonly referred to as "the Darwin/Wallace theory of evolution.")

This book is also a corrective to the notion that Wallace was a dabbler. No, he was a skillful and dedicated naturalist as immersed in the fauna of the Indonesian archipelago as Darwin was immersed in his study of barnacles or domesticated animals. During his eight years in the Malay Archipelago he collected and catalogued a staggering "300 specimens of mammals, 100 reptiles, 8050 birds, 7500 shells, 13100 butterflies, 83200 beetles, and 13400 other insects." (p. 52) That's certainly not the work of a diletante! (Lest he be smeared a mere "stamp collector" it is wise to recall that Darwin himself was known as an avid collector of beetles during his college years and that he also amassed the largest known 19th century collection of barnacles during his writing of Living Cirripedia, 1854.)

Mr.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. Sid Vogel on June 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Those whom we remember had better publishers! Darwin had a great publisher, and he is the guy we know about, but we don't know about Wallace, who Darwin credited as the co-discoverer of the theory of Natural Selection. This is a great story, and shows the power of the pen, and the power of the dollar ( or the pound). Darwin was sort of a dilettante. He has his trip on the Begal, and then went home to England and talked, read, and wrote for 20 years before he published his Origin of Species. During all that time his poorer maintenance, Russel was spending years in the Amazon exploring and discovering thousands of species of animal and plant and sending those discoveries home to England and selling them for money. (Darwin did not have a money problem like Russel). Then Russel went on to the South Pacific where he discovered even more species of animal and plant. Along the way he stayed in contact with Darwin and told him in letters of his theory of Natural Selection and the survival of the fittest. Darwin's friends pushed Darwin to publish before Russel came home, and Darwin did, but to his credit he gave co-credit for his idea of Natural Selection to Wallace. When Wallace came home to England, Darwin got the English government to give him a pension, so Wallace was dependent on Darwin, and would never denounce him for using his work in his paper. Wallace, who had seen so much up close and personal during his decade in the wilds believe that the world was intelligently designed to work the way it does by God. Now, this was not a popular idea during those post-enlightened days. Wallace lived in relative obscurity, while Darwin, the "we don't need God" guy became famous. Now you know the rest of the story.
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