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Almost Like a Whale: The Origin of Species Updated Hardcover – September 2, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


"'Inspired by his modernising pen, the old bones throw off their dust and dance the boogie...a richly readable introduction to the science that The Origin of Species invented'" -- Mark Ridley The Sunday Times "'A celebration of the unarguable rightness of Darwin's case, updated to take into account our century's advances, particularly in genetics...his writing is clear, precise, declamatory, often illuminating...he allies the macro and the micro, using tales of dogs and snails and polyps and islands, to create a work of persuasion rather than polemic' " -- Euan Ferguson Observer "'To rewrite Darwin requires considerable skill, bravado, and, possibly, a touch of madness. Jones clearly has more than his fair share of all three...a barnstorming tour of modern genetics and its implications for evolutionary theory'" -- Kenan Malik Independent on Sunday "'The richness is almost overwhelming, and I am awed by Jones's reading...hugely enjoyable'" -- Steven Rose Independent "'Explains the workings of evolution, as they are now understood, with beautiful clarity and, naturally, with a lot more fun and jokes than Darwin ever allowed himself. The book is a pleasure to read'" -- Mary Midgley New Statesman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jones is Professor of Genetics at University College London and has worked at universities in the USA, Australia and Africa. He gave the BBC Reith Lectures in 1991, and presented a successful BBC TV series on human genetics and evolution in 1996. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Telegraph and frequently appears on radio and television. His previous books include The Language of the Genes (which won the 1994 Rhone-Poulenc Science Book Prize) and In the Blood (shortlisted for the 1997 Rhone-Poulenc). He won the 1997 Royal Society Faraday Medal for the Public Understanding of Science. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (September 2, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385409850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385409858
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.9 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,238,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Enigma on December 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A wonderfully well written book that is accessible for everyone- I'm no biologist but I could understand everything about. The book deals with evolutionary biology and Darwin's theory of evolution. A must for anyone interested in where they and the world around them are from or linked to one another.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By C. W. Johnson on December 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
I have not read the original work by Charles Darwin, the famous "The Origin of Species" - but this book "Almost Like a Whale" (it's title in its native English and the Australian market) not only introduces Darwin's main lines of argument and examples, it also brings many of them up to date. It uses Darwin's original chapter structure and organization to do so, bringing into modern illustrations of examples, better cases, and modernized arguments - and current scientific questions. It is very well written, good for reading a chapter at a time to allow for reflection between groups of ideas.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By desefinado on September 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Actually, this "review" is meant merely to link "Darwin's Ghost", the American title of this work and its many fine reviews to "Almost Like A Whale" the British title. It's interesting how marketers treat the clash of cultures isn't it?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Derek Buffardi on May 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A little less than one hundred fifty years after Darwin first released On the Origin of Species, author and evolutionary biologist Steve Jones took it upon himself to use Darwin's most famous framework and apply 20th century knowledge to it. Using the same chapters and headings Darwin used in On the Origin of Species, Jones successfully manages to create an enjoyable, intellectually stimulating book. With topics ranging from the evolution of HIV and dogs to the evolutionary paths humans have taken themselves, this book covers a wide variety of topics while still holding true to its roots. This book has several significant strengths and a few weaknesses that deserve mention


-Readability: In each section Jones manages to provide stimulating knowledge furthering the average reader's understanding of evolution, and the depth of understanding today's evolutionary biologists have without a lot of the scientific jargon you find in similar books.
-Framework: since Jones utilizes Darwin's framework the reader feels like he's following what conclusions Darwin's On the Origin of Species would come to had it been written today.
-Scientific Data: On every page there is either a different study or experiment being mentioned that brings evolution in practice to life. Or a furthering of Darwin's own sentiments.
-Writing Style: Jones is a fantastic writer, and this book truly showcases his talent. While some may argue that a book supposed to be based around furthering the general knowledge of evolution is supposed to be unlined with metaphor it was exactly these lines that helped draw me in and read this more like a novel than a scientific text which I believe was Jones' goal with writing the book.
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