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Darwin: The Indelible Stamp 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0762421367
ISBN-10: 0762421363
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James D. Watson received the Nobel Prize in 1962 for determining the structure of DNA, the building blocks of life. As a fellow pioneer and explorer of the most fundamental riddles about the nature of life, he has a lot in common with Charles Darwin.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1276 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; 1 edition (August 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762421363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762421367
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #992,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a review of "Darwin: The Indelible Stamp," which includes four of Darwin's books, edited and with commentary by James D. Watson of DNA fame.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
The Indelible Stamp is a collection of reasonably good books, but I find the edition to be lacking in some respects. There are numerous typos and errors, and I have not made it yet through even the first book. Also, different printings of these texts often have many good images to accompany them that are very condusive to an understanding of the book (for example, a map of the Beagle voyage). This collection has no images except those necessary in Expression of Emotions. However, it is an affordable way to get four of Darwin's best books, and the hardcover version is well put-together. I also found Watson's commentary very useful and enriching.
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Incredible voyages and theories. Darwin's thinking changed our world.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A must have for a natural history library. Four of the classic books written by Charles Darwin in one book.
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