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Darwin's Ghost: The Origin of Species Updated Paperback – April 3, 2001
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--The New York Times Book Review
"FASCINATING AND WITTY. . . WRITTEN WITH GREAT AUTHORITY AND A FLUID STYLE . . . [STEVE JONES IS A] SUPERIOR COMMUNICATOR--HUMANE, APPROACHABLE, FUNNY."
--The Boston Sunday Globe
From the Inside Flap
Jones is a writer of engaging wit and dazzling erudition and has been called "the British Carl Sagan." Using modern examples--the AIDS virus, the puzzles of sexual selection, the physiology and psychology of pets, and the unparalleled genetic success of our own species--he shows the power and immediacy of Darwin's great argument and makes us appreciate how it makes life make sense. Eye-opening and entertaining, filled with astonishing facts, amusing anecdotes, and the very latest research, Darwin's Ghost is contemporary science writing at its very best.
Top Customer Reviews
This would not be a particularly good book for someone wrestling with the Big Question of design vs. evolution. Although Jones gives many, many supporting examples and facts for various aspects of evolution, they are from the beginning asserted as solid proof - he does not lead the novice reader "gently" through the accumulation of evidence. In addition, he does not provide footnotes for the many claims, and it is difficult to tell which of them are solid, thoroughly-accepted and which are opinions du jour. It often felt like he was preaching to the choir (certainly not what Darwin did or intended). This is a disservice to the reader who really wants to understand the relative depth of the various arguments and facts.
Despite my reservations, I enjoyed some of the book - especially the last chapter (which is Darwin's concluding chapter).
One long argument is exactly what Steve Jones's book is not. Instead it is a long series of statements, some of them interesting and important, but with little or no coherence. Certainly, one can read the whole book with profit, and one can learn a lot from it, but it is not a pleasurable read, let alone an enthralling one.Read more ›
Ok, fair enough. So, what is this book's intended audience? In Darwin's case, he was writing to the educated lay person of his day, which mostly meant Victorian gentlemen of conventional morality and religion, but interested in science, and with minds that could follow an argument and be changed. But he was writing to scientists mainly, and was acutely conscious of the need to be comprehensive, clear, and conservative as regards the evidence, and rigorous in argument.
Jones is not writing to convince his audience that all the variety of life that we see about us arose out of simpler forms (or, even, just one simple type of proto-creature) by descent with modification over eons of time, with the environment doing the selective breeding, as it were. His audience should already believe that. (Those that most vehemently do not are certainly not addressed here.) Rather, he is giving us an informal survey of natural history in its great and entertaining variety, using Darwin's great argument as a "scaffolding" upon which to hang his discussions. Throughout he implicitly assumes that you accept the reality of evolution. What he is doing is guiding you through its implications and outcomes in a great number of ways.Read more ›
The book is the perfect example of what popular science writing SHOULD NOT BE. In order to make science accessible to the public, contestable theories are presented as undoubted "truths" and long and complex scientific debates muted.
Dr Giorgos Kallis, University of California at Berkeley
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The way Jones words some things is laughable, he gets way to poetic, but putting that aside this book is a much easier read than Origin and is full of example after example... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Summer Peila
An excellent rewrite of Darwin's book. He succeeds at updating the content of Darwin's original work.Published 16 months ago by Plato Camus
The progress in biology is so fast that you can wonder if any book published in 1999 is worth reading today. I was pleased to read this one. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Claude Lambert
This was a gift for a friend who has an interest in this topic and has thoroughly enjoyed the book.Published on February 6, 2014 by Sandy Gaines
This book is very clear in explaining difficult concepts. It's not exactly Bill Bryson but there is much to learn from this wonderful book.Published on June 1, 2012 by M. Buisman
Just so you know, Steve Jones has a tendency to copy and paste prose. I used to think highly of his writing. Read morePublished on August 22, 2011 by ZZT
As an upcoming Advance Placement Biology student, I set out to find the perfect book that would extend any preliminary knowledge I had gained from my freshman Biology course. Read morePublished on August 3, 2009 by Thao Thi Tran
I have just reached page 93 of the hardcover edition of this book and have decided, with reluctance, not to read any further. Read morePublished on October 12, 2008 by Howard Kaplan
Unfortunately, this is not an update to "Origin of the Species," but a layperson's "guide" to developments in evolution biology. Read morePublished on April 18, 2008 by CDaniels