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Darwin Slept Here: Discovery, Adventure, and Swimming Iguanas in Charles Darwin's South America Hardcover – January 22, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Eric Simons has given us a bracingly fresh portrait of the young Darwin, the man long ago lost behind the great white beard. Here is Darwin as only another young naturalist could find him, and to see the world through those avid eyes, groping for the theory that would explain all he has so brilliantly observed, is nothing less than exhilarating." Michael Pollen, author of "The Botany of Desire" and "The Omnivore's Dilemma"; "Vivid and exotic, Eric Simons' tale invites comparisons to Chatwin as he leads readers among guanacos and ostriches, assassin bugs and armadillos, through rough seas, swift currents and ascending jungles. This is a book full of zest and discovery with the deeper mission of appreciating one of humankind's great breakthroughs in the understanding of our past." Lou Ureneck, author of "Backcast"; "Too often we forget that major accomplishments often stem from youthful abandon. Twenty-something Charles Darwin had a rippin' good time mingling with South America's gauchos and iguanas. Discovering this inspired young Eric Simons to retrace the great naturalist's rambling tracks. The result is this wildly entertaining reminder that science and exploration can be a blast." Bob Sipchen, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and the author of "Baby Insane and the Buddha" --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

Praise for Darwin Slept Here
"Eric Simons has given us a bracingly fresh portrait of the Young Darwin, the man long ago lost behind the great white beard. Here is Darwin as only another young naturalist could find him, and to see the world through those avid eyes, groping for the theory the would explain all he has so brilliantly observed, is nothing less than exhilarating." -Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire and The Omnivore's Dilemma

"Too often we forget that major accomplishments often stem from youthful abandon. Twenty-something Charles Darwin had a rippin' good time mingling with South America's gauchos and iguanas. Discovering this inspired young Eric Simons to retrace the great naturalist's rambling tracks. The result is this wildly entertaining reminder that science and exploration can be a blast." -Bob Sipchen, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and the author of Baby Insane and the Buddha

"Vivid and exotic, Eric Simon's tale invites comparisons to Chatwin as he leads readers among guanacos and ostriches, assassin bugs and armadillos, through rough seas, swift currents and ascending jungles. This is a book full of zest and discovery with the deeper mission of appreciating one of humankind's great breakthroughs in the understanding our past." -Lou Ureneck, author of Backcast

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: The Overlook Press; 1 edition (January 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590202201
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590202203
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,375,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eric Simons writes about science, sports, and nature. In the Secret Lives of Sports Fans (2013), he investigates the scientific roots of a universal passion, and turns up some curious aspects of human nature taking place in the bleachers. His first book, Darwin Slept Here (2009) combines history, biography, travel adventure, and ostrich recipes to tell the story of Charles Darwin's four years in South America. He lives in San Francisco.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is equal parts travelogue and science history. Those who enjoyed Royte's Tapir's Morning Bath will get along fine, travelling alongside Simons as he retraces (not exactly, but to a certain degree) Darwin's path through modern-day Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. There is an excellent balance between the history of Darwin's voyage and the present-day travels. The truly remarkable thing is how most of the people he meets are versed in Darwin. There are times when Simons' observations are a bit too idyllic, but the use of hyperbole is almost unavoidable when confronted with the majesty of a raw, native rainforest. He also spends a bit too much time focussed on how much like a "gringo" he and his periodic travel companions appear. All in all, a pleasant read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Katy Khalsa on February 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Simons provides a refreshing view of Darwin as a curious young adventurer. The book is filled with insight, humor and a writing style that keeps the reader hooked and laughing. A new look into the early life of Darwin and not the stuffy old man that we all think of today. An excellent book for us non-historians and a real page turner. I would recommend it to anyone with an eye for adventure and travel. Loved it!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. LeVan on February 2, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have little science background, instead choosing to focus on art and design for most of my life. This book has taught me little facts about science, nature, and history, giving me a new appreciation for Darwin and a greater understanding of the culture of South American countries. The relaxed writing style is inviting, as if a friend is narrating a story, and this story is adventurous, intriguing, and inspires me to step outside my comfort zone and explore a new, old world.
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5 of 18 people found the following review helpful By S. NELSON on April 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a dedicated non-fiction reader and frequent traveller in Patagonia I was disappointed with this light travel log. Simons had a creative idea, to travel in Darwin's footsteps to get a sense of the man, but executed it poorly. Rather than add insight to help the reader understand modern day life in Southern Argentina and Chile, Simons is satisfied to view the poor villages he visits with the eyes of a Californian suburbanite; mocking the scene and the inhabitants with shallow sarcasm. Although referring to Darwin's encounters with iguanas & finches, the book awkwardly stops short of following Darwin to the Galapagos. If you want insight to the early life of Charles Darwin, I recommend simply reading The Voyage of the Beagle which is a charming and very readable account of his 5 year adventure.
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