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Darwin Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Length: 864 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Invaluable for its day-to-day account of Charles Darwin's activities, this monumental biography keenly conveys the English naturalist's struggle to make evolution and natural selection acceptable by presenting them as the bedrock of Victorian middle-class values. Using a trove of previously untapped material, the authors illuminate Darwin as a freethinking agnostic fearful of being labeled an anarchist, a scientific titan trapped on a literary treadmill, a voyager on the Beagle appalled at "low" races of savages, and a paterfamilias who subordinated women but was completely dependent on his wife. Above all, British authors Desmond ( The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs ) and Moore, the editorial consultant to Cambridge University's Darwin Letters Project, plunge readers into the controversies of the era as parson-hating biologist Thomas Henry Huxley, socialist Alfred Russell Wallace, free-market capitalists and radical atheists bent Darwinism to their own purposes. Photos. BOMC, History Book Club and QPB alternates.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In 44 chapters with copious notes and massive details, Darwin scholars Desmond and Moore give a rich portrait of the gentleman naturalist and scientific theorist from a sociocultural framework emphasizing Whig-Tory conflicts and Lyellian-Malthusian speculations. The authors reveal that Darwin was particularly influenced by the evolutionary ideas of zoologist Robert Grant; the implications of fossil Argentine megatheriums, speciated Galapagos mockingbirds, and the incredible varieties of barnacles; as well as experimentation with cultivated plants and animals. Despite a doting wife, loyal friends, and belated honors (though he was never knighted), Darwin's life was filled with illness, disappointment, and tragedy (especially the death of daughter Annie at age ten). This impressive volume makes clear that Darwin suffered from a lifelong schizoid struggle between his own materialist science and a late-Victorian theology. For a deeper examination of Darwin's sickness, read John Bowlby's Charles Darwin ( LJ 3/1/91) and Ralph Colp's To Be an Invalid ( LJ 6/1/77). Darwin's final written thoughts on religion are found in Nora Barlow's indispensable The Autobiography of Charles Darwin (1959). Essential reading for evolutionists, Desmond and Moore's monumental work is highly recommended for all academic libraries. BOMC, History Book Club, and Quality Paperback Book Club alternate selections.
- H. James Birx, Canisius Coll., Buffalo, N.Y.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3429 KB
  • Print Length: 864 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (October 29, 1992)
  • Publication Date: October 29, 1992
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI97W0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,015,523 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Charles Darwin and the theory of evolution that he advanced have become a major boon to the publishing trade. The sheer bulk of material in print related to Darwin and evolution is astonishing. With the thousands of books related to this subject out there, it is a daunting task for the interested reader to know where to start. I would suggest that this book is the ideal introduction to learning about Darwin and "Darwinism." The book is first and foremost a superb biography. It gives the reader a real sense of who Darwin was and what his time was like. Further, it explains the science of Darwin's era and puts the theory of natural selection into that context. It does a good job of explaining how the political, social, religious, economic and scientific context of nineteenth century Britain contributed to the development of Darwin's theory. In addition, Desmond and Moore show how Darwin's personal suffering contributed both to the development of his thinking as well as to two decades of delay in its publication.
The style is readable and compelling. In short, I recommend it wholeheartedly both to the casual reader with no background in the area and to those with a serious interest in the subject matter.
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Format: Paperback
I just completed my second reading of this work. I do feel it is one of the better Darwin biographies. It certainly is not in the same league with Janet Browne's two volume work, but if you cannot get Browne, then this one will certainly do. This work is well researched and certainly presents us with a good look at not only Darwin the man, but of his science. I had to agree with another reviewer who made the observation that reading Charles Darwin's work is much easier after reading this work on his life and times. I also enjoyed the insightful look into the Victorian mind...it was an added bonus. Unfortunately, I have noticed that the anti-evolution folks go through these reviews bashing anything said positive about any of the Darwin Biographies. The study of the man, Darwin, is not necessarily an endorsement of his theory. On the other hand, Darwin and his contemporaries did change the way we look at our world and we do owe them a debt for that, and anyone that can produce such a profound work, indeed, needs to be studied. Any one who denies this simply has their head in the sand. Highly recommend this one. Good biography and good history. Well written!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a really first class biography, bringing the full weight of Charles Darwin's "torment" to light. As a devoutly religious man during the oppressively Christian Victorian era, it took uncommon fortitude and intellectual honesty for him to follow the paths down which his researches led him, all the way to the ultimate conclusions which today bear his name.

Much like H.W. Brands's biography of Benjamin Franklin, the authors here do an excellent job of bringing Darwin back to life, both the highs and the lows (including lots of personal tragedy) that shaped his monumental career. Heartbreak played as great a role in his life as discovery.

Compulsively readable without sacrificing detail, all of the major milestones of his life are covered in a personal perspective which gives exactly as much emphasis as events must have had at the time -- even ones which have since reached mythic proportions. This is, as Steven Jay Gould touts on the cover, "Unquestionably, the finest [biography] ever written about Darwin..."
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Format: Paperback
Desmond and Moore completely abolish the traditional way of doing historiography: they do away with the Internalist/Externalist dichotomy that either considers scientific knowledge as mere conceptual change, and thus regards historical reconstruction as internal to the theories, or considers science a strict social product, exempt from the theoretical biases. Desmond and Moore include everything that has a causal significance in the life of Darwin as both a scientist and man living in the 19th century. They manage to give the most complete reconstruction ever of biological history's most transcendental event: the development of Darwin's theory of Evolution. And believe me, as a biologist, I've read tons on Darwin. It is so masterfully written, that it is hard to limit myself to the five star rating: I would give it more!
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Format: Paperback
Masterful prose describing one of histories most important and enigmatic geniuses. I cannot wait to read Adrian Desmond's biography about Thomas Huxley. May I strongly suggest that anyone who enjoys this biography try reading a copy of Darwin's "The Origin of Species". It requires perseverance and a contemplative mind, but the rewards of understanding this seminal work repay the effort.
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Format: Paperback
This is one hell of a riveting biography. I've often read biographies of really interesting people, but the writing is so turgid or lackluster, that I find myself wishing a better writer would tackle this story and do it right. Not so with this one, this is a phenomenal book.
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Format: Hardcover
Darwin: the life of a tormented evolutionist, the title says it all. Desmond and Moore work around the idea of the tormented evolutionist as a central theme in this magnus opus of Darwins life. The reader is taken on a journey through Darwin as a young lad, collecting shells and minerals, to the debilitated, ailing old man who writes non-stop on many aspects of natural history from selection to a complete and still used encyclopedia on barnacles to orchids and earthworms. But this is not an essay merely about the life and accomplishments of Charles Darwin, it is a story about science and society in the 1800's England. Desmond and Moore create a scene of Darwin getting swept up in the events of Victorian England. They illustrate a man torn by his religious convictions and the interpretations of what all the evidence from his life's research points toward. I relished in getting to know other famous scientists such as Hooker, Wallace, Romanes, Spencer, Tyndall and Huxley, and many others from that time who were among Darwin's followers and critics (i.e. Owen, Agassiz, Duke of Argylle, Mivart, Wilberforce)
A highly enjoyable book for people from all backgrounds and an absolute must read for anyone not so much interested in the complete biography of Darwin's life, but for people interested in the history and philosophy of Victorian England's science.
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