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Darwin: The Indelible Stamp 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike most works of natural history from the mid-19th-century, Darwin's books remain in print for good reasons. Aside from their historic importance, they are well-written and fascinating for all lovers of nature with curious minds. This volume's content needs no review, so I will limit my comments to the book and the editorial decisions, especially since there are numerous other editions of these books readily available.
First, the praise. To have Darwin's four most important books in one volume saves bookshelf space and probably a few dollars as well. The book seems well-made, with clean printing and relatively opaque pages that minimize the ability to see the print on the page below the one you are reading. I find the skeleton on the cover to be rather morbid and the faux-19th-century leather book image on the paper jacket to be out-of-step with Watson's efforts to argue for Darwin's continued relevance, as if any were necessary.
Watson's commentary is too brief: an eight-page forward and three-page commentaries preceding each of the four books. These are interesting pages, mainly giving historical background to the text, rather than the connections between Darwin and modern genomic research, as promised on the back cover. But it doesn't take a James Watson to have written these commentaries.
Unfortunately, it takes more than a James Watson, apparently, to provide a truly first-rate edition. He is hardly a critical editor. The book is coy about what is left in and what is left out.Read more ›
edit: Upon further reflection, I think these books are only suitable reading for someone who is in the field. I found them to be overall not very necessary, and I would recommend a more modern, clear, and concise book (Such as Ernst Mayr's "What Evolution Is") for the casual reader.