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From So Simple a Beginning: Darwin's Four Great Books (Voyage of the Beagle, The Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals) Hardcover – November 17, 2005
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About the Author
Edward O. Wilson is widely recognized as one of the world's preeminent biologists and naturalists. The author of more than twenty books, including The Creation, The Social Conquest of Earth, The Meaning of Human Existence, and Letters to a Young Scientist, Wilson is a professor emeritus at Harvard University. The winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, he lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.
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Top Customer Reviews
This edition of Darwin's four most famous works is beautifully printed and physically attractive. It's also sturdily bound, a good idea given the huge page count. However, there are two aspects of this edition that I regret:
--The footnotes are all printed as endnotes, so you have to flip back and forth. (This seems so strange to me: any word processing program can handle footnotes without difficulty, so why can't publishers cope with them?)
--I also regret that the distinguished editor, E. O. Wilson, did not add his own footnotes. When I read Darwin's more speculative remarks, I'd like to know: "Did this pan out; was Darwin in fact right on this point?". The books would benefit greatly from follow-up remarks, in light of the huge progress made in evolutionary theory since Darwin's day. Wilson's own vast knowledge would have made him an ideal candidate to provide such commentary.
But don't let my quibbles deter you. These books are deeply inspiring and very much worth your time.
The only complaint I have about the Norton book is that Darwin's footnotes have been converted to endnotes. A bit of an annoyance.
Darwin's writings are far from the last word on evolution and natural selection and enormous strides have been made since he first presented his ideas. That doesn't diminish the importance of these works though. Feynman always went back to the original authors in his study of physics and found that it gave him a tremendous edge in understanding new ideas: once you have a firm foundation and basis of understanding it's easier to see how new ideas fit in or change the central dogma. In the same way these volumes are necessary for an understanding of the historical questions concerning evolution and for the still current debates.
I found the introduction and notes by Wilson to be a real help that added to the text. Darwin's ideas are seminal and still so controversial to out culture at large that we still fight over them. Reading through this collection can help gain a deeper perspective into Darwin, his ideas, and the entire study of evolution.
Idea by James Watson " I arrived at this work, from the couple dozen
small newspaper-style, mini-illustrations on same pages, and the feedback
received from this work.
Actually, it's an open debate whether this is the best option. First,
all 4 books are glued together in one giant "tome" ...and this doesn't
facilitate reading, from the size or the volume. Also, the pages are
extremely thin, although not transparent, and probably smudge easily
and are fragile. That's another liability, if one makes notes in the
pages, probably the ink will leak to the other size, etc.
Perhaps the best option, is buying all 4 books separately, and reading
them one at a time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I originally was looking for Darwin's book "The Voyage of the Beagle". I came across "From So Simple A Beginning" and decided to purchased this collection instead. Read morePublished 1 month ago by cory
This is so good. I finally got a copy and when I opened it and started reading this feeling of complete excitement came over me. So many questions answered. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Cedar
I adore the attention to detail he gave to everything he studied as well as his ongoing search for answers. Read morePublished 4 months ago by dee
Very happy with this combined volume as it really is advantantageous for a first-time reader to absorb the marvelous story in order. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Eugene O'Neill's kid
I did not need to buy the whole set. I only needed the descent of Man. It's boring. If you're looking for general information regarding Darwin's theory, then use google and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Super girl
This tome is just great! It includes almost everything you will ever want to read written by Darwin. It is somewhat intimidating though to open this book for the first time. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Bigdogg