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Comment: A few usual library marks present to this hardback. Clean and clear mylar jacket. Bright, clean text is free from rips, creases or other markings. Rather light handling wear.
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Charles Darwin: The Evolution of a Thinker Hardcover – March, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This thoroughly researched but clinical biography presents the life and theories of one of history's most innovative and influential scientists. Patent (Prairie; Biodiversity), a trained scientist, excels when dissecting Darwin's experiments and thought processes, and her analysis is clear and passionate. But elsewhere, the writing becomes labored (e.g., a commentary on the dress code at Cambridge, a convoluted discussion of the scientist's early questionnaires) and distracts from Darwin's groundbreaking work and approach. The volume begins on a strong note with a prologue that connects the challenges of curing the modern common cold and AIDS (due to their evolving nature) with Darwin's theory of natural selection; in this way, Patent makes Darwin's work immediately relevant for contemporary readers. She also debunks several popular myths regarding Darwin, including the legend that he formulated his theory of evolution in its entirety during his five-year journey as naturalist aboard the Beagle; in truth he devoted an additional 26 years after his journey to scientific observation before publishing The Origin of Species in 1859. While the text conveys chronological details regarding Darwin's personal life (his wife, children, tragedies and friendships), it rarely captures the relationships or passions of the man, nor the mood of the era. Ages 10-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up-These are heady days in genetic science, and this sober, penetrating life of the man who, more than any other, got that particular ball rolling presents convincing evidence of his genius. Drawing from published sources as well as the thousands of letters Darwin left behind, Patent creates a vivid picture of the man as a gregarious, loving father, beset by ill health for most of his life, as well as a probing thinker, careful observer, and gifted writer. Sometimes Darwin's woes verge on comedy; strongly susceptible to seasickness, he actually spent all but 18 months of the Beagle's nearly 5-year voyage on land. Patent keeps her focus close to the man, only hinting at the popular furor engendered by Origin of Species, but describing in detail not only how Darwin developed his theories, but also how carefully he laid the groundwork for them within the scientific community, and how they influenced his subsequent research. She closes with a map of the Beagle's journey; lists of prominent contemporary scientists; and print, electronic, and Internet resources-all of which at least help to compensate for the dim, scanty photos and prints. Readers with an interest in the idea that has become "the most powerful tool we have in understanding how the living world works" will find this a rewarding account of its origins. Steer readers wishing to trace the theory of evolution's course up to the present to the final chapters of Rebecca Stefoff's Charles Darwin and the Evolution Revolution (Oxford, 1998).

John Peters, New York Public Library

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1110L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House (March 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823414949
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823414949
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 7.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,273,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ever since I was a child I've loved nature and animals. I spent my time out of doors, picking flowers and scooping tadpoles out of ponds. So it's no wonder I studied biology and became an author myself of the kind of gifts I loved when I was young, books about nature. I've expanded into other fascinating areas of nonfiction, too, especially historical topics of the American west, such as Lewis and Clark and Native Americans.

The lives of wolves and dogs especially fascinate me. Scientists consider them the same species, but wolves are so successful at being wild, and dogs have done a great job of attaching themselves to humans in so many ways. My one fiction, "Return of the Wolf," now available in a Kindle edition, shows how wolves live in the wild. If you read this book, you'll recognize behavior your dog shares with its wild cousin, such as submissive or dominant behavior. "When the Wolves Return: Restoring Nature's Balance in Yellowstone" demonstrates the importance of wolves to the natural ecosystem, and several of my books explore how dogs help humans in different ways.

My work has given me the gift of travel to all sorts of fascinating places such as the Galapagos Island, the Costa Rican Rain Forest, the arctic tundra, and more. Since my favorite activity is learning new information, I plan to keep traveling and writing for many years ahead.

To learn more about me and my books, visit my website,, and my blog,

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John McAdam on April 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Man, I thought I was so cool when I was going through this book like a real scientist. Then I saw the age-limit of the book and was like a bucket of water on a fire.


This book is excellent and deserves more views than it has. I'm horrified to know I'm the only review (so far). Do yourself a favor and get this book.

John McAdam. Author of:
Enoch and the Extraterrestrials
Westh: Sun Thieves
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