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Natural Selection and Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace [Hardcover]

by Charles H. Smith, George Beccaloni
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

January 15, 2009 0199239169 978-0199239160
Alfred Russel Wallace (1823 - 1913) was one of the late nineteenth century's most potent intellectual forces. His link to Darwin as co-discoverer of the principle of natural selection alone would have secured him a place in history, but he went on to complete work entitling him to recognition as the 'father' of modern biogeographical studies, as a pioneer in the field of astrobiology, and as an important contributor to subjects as far-ranging as glaciology, land reform, anthropology and ethnography, and epidemiology. Beyond this, many are coming to regard Wallace as the pre-eminent field biologist, collector, and naturalist of tropical regions. Add to that the fact that he was a vocal supporter of spiritualism, socialism, and the rights of the ordinary person, and it quickly becomes apparent that Wallace was a man of extraordinary breadth of attention. Yet his work in many of these areas is still not well known, and still less recognized is his relevance to current day research almost 100 years after his death.

This rich collection of writings by more than twenty historians and scientists reviews and reflects on the work that made Wallace a famous man in his own time, and a figure of extraordinary influence and continuing interest today.


Editorial Reviews

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"This book is a must have for those interested in the life and career of Alfred Russel Wallace."--Birdbooker Report


About the Author


Charles H. Smith is Professor of Library Public Information Services at Western Kentucky University. His research interests include biogeography and evolutionary theory, systems theory, bibliography, and Alfred Russel Wallace. He has published four books, nearly a hundred journal articles and reviews, and currently maintains the website The Alfred Russel Wallace Page at http://www.wku.edu/~smithch/index1.htm

His previous book publications are Alfred Russel Wallace: An Anthology of his Shorter Writings; Biodiversity Studies: A Bibliographic Review; Alfred Russel Wallace: Writings on Evolution, 1843-1912; and Alfred Russel Wallace: Evolution of an Evolutionist. George Beccaloni is Curator in the Department of Entomology at the Natural History Museum, London. A Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and Royal Entomological Society of London, he also set up set up the A. R. Wallace Memorial Fund. His purblications include numerous research articles and the following books (as co-editor): Hostplants of the Moth and Butterfly Caterpillars of the Oriental Region; Hostplants of the moth and butterfly caterpillars of America north of Mexico; and >Host-plants of the Neotropical Butterflies: A Catalogue (forthcoming).

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (January 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199239169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199239160
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 6.9 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,791,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format:Paperback
Natural Selection & Beyond: The intellectual legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace, edited by Charles H. Smith and George Beccaloni, Oxford University Press, 2008, 510 ff

An in-depth look at the oft-neglected discoverer of evolution

When we talk about evolution, we usually think in terms of the work of Charles Darwin. But there was another scientist thinking along the same lines at the same time as Darwin and that was the Welsh-born biologist Alfred Russel Wallace. Furthermore, Darwin and Wallace were not even the first to address the problem as, half a century earlier, Charles’ grandfather Erasmus Darwin and the French biologist Jean Baptiste Lamarck produced their own theories of how life on Earth developed.

This volume has contributions from twenty-three specialists in their fields, as well as the two editors, to recount the work of Wallace, not only as a biologist but also as a passionate socialist and investigator of spiritualism. As historian of science Peter Bowler comments in his Foreword, Wallace not only made major contributions to evolutionary biology but also, in both his biology and spiritualism, showed his opposition to the materialism of mainstream Victorian culture.

Although Darwin trained to be a priest in the Anglican Church, his approach to evolution was essentially materialistic with no mention of any possible divine intervention in the process. Wallace on the other hand did not exclude the possibility of some non-material agency in shaping the course of evolution.

In this book, Normal Johnson tells us something about Wallace’s concept of reinforcement as he saw it operating in the natural world. Tim Caro and colleagues writes on the colours of animals.
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