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Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution Paperback – July 1, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0140132656 ISBN-10: 0140132651 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 418 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (July 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140132651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140132656
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,373,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"In this wonderfully engaging book, the researches of Lamarck, Mendel, Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace and modern evolutionary biologists add up to an intriguing human drama," maintained PW . "It would be hard to imagine a more readable, comprehensive survey of the story of evolution." Illustrated.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

To readers who enjoyed Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind ( LJ 2/1/81), another book by the same authors is a welcome event. This new collaboration is a recounting of evolutionary theory from its roots in the 18th century, through Darwin's and Wallace's revolutionary interpretation of natural selection as evolution's moving force, to the 20th-century unraveling of the genetic code. As in the authors' earlier book, clear writing, clever analogies from the everyday world, and portrayal of scientists as living personalities help make a complex subject approachable for the thoughtful lay reader. The authors are best at telling the genetic story, a sequel to the more often-told Darwinian history and essential to today's understanding of evolution as a well-established scientific dogma.
- Margery C. Coombs, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 1997
Format: Paperback
Blueprints is just what the title says. A look at how evolution performed its magic work, on our species and others. While I started reading this book knowing what evolution was, I left it knowing how it works. Taking you from the first scientific investigation of the relations of species, through to the discovery of DNA, Maitland Edey and Donald Johanson clearly and easily walk you through time. The concepts are explained simply and succinctly, in an entertaining style that often includes humorous incidents as the world of science lurched toward our current level of understanding. I would recommend this book to anyone, including students, who wishes to experience the evolution of evolution
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert W. Burns III on July 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Edey and Johanson do a splendid job of detailing the philosophies and scientific discoveries that led to the formation of modern evolutionary thought. The history they present is filled with interesting details and offers a good refresher on high school biology. It begins with many pre-Darwinian thoughts and works its way up to the present (or 1990). Along the way the authors occasionally dialogue between themselves explaining various topics, offering analogies for concepts, presenting possible theories, and giving personal details about the men and women involved in this field.
...the book is more presentational rather than apologetic. On occasion the authors did generalize creationism with Biblical fundamentalism, but they also admit once to the difficulty of originating life. I would also have liked to have seen more fossil discoveries outside the realm of humanity, a discussion on stem cell and embryo development, and perhaps a brief tracing of the likely line of descent from single celled bacteria to the major classes of vertebrates. (I am a theist, so take into consideration any bias.)
Overall, there were only a few tedious pages, but it is otherwise an excellent book that I had a hard time putting down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kim F. on February 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Don't worry if you are not a science-oriented person! This is a great resource for anyone interested in evolution, dna and natural selection. The book is almost a dialogue between the authors and each topic's history, growth and purpose is given in everyday language and images. If you are a scientist, you will still find this a valuable tool, especially if you've ever tried to explain some of these issues to non-scientists.
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Format: Paperback
Having this 1989 book on the shelves for so long, I feared its contents may be dated – not so. Why? Because it’s about how the idea of evolution evolved, from the 1700’s to modern times. The authors make concepts clear with good analogies, and periodically segue into conversation between themselves to clarify ideas. It works well, anticipating reader questions. Besides a step-by-step accumulation of evidence that built this theory, what the authors do best is presentation of the personal lives behind this drama. The mountainous insecurity faced by telling truth to dogma; fierce resistance to natural reality; human arrogance and missteps on both sides along the way. Many heroes go unrecognized or ridiculed and ostracized until long after their death. The scene between Archbishop Wilberforce and Darwin’s bulldog, the dazzling and sulfurous T.H. Huxley in a packed public forum of raucous onlookers was a thrill to read three times. The whole story is a prime example of how facts of nature can sometimes win against more comfortable and entrenched ignorance – at least in those nations and those times confident enough in themselves to accept that nature really has no political party.

The evolution of evolution did not begin with fossils of extinct human lineage, but with geology’s requirement of an earth billions of years old (rather than created on October 23, 4004 BC at 9 a.m.), and witness of living animals in constant transition thanks to environmental change (natural selection). Fossils began to echo the same theme. Mendel’s peas pleading for recognition of heritable genes; Darwin’s first flashes of insight on the Beagle; fistfights for the Nobel for being first to decipher DNA’s structure where we find natural selection at the molecular level, and, finally, how species try to stay the same while changing – a story well worth knowing.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Herbert B Borteck on October 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The product was exactly as was described and I was thoroughly satisfied; not only
in the product but also in the speed with which the transaction was completed.
Herb
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