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On the Origin of Species Paperback – December 17, 2011

225 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 - 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist who established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Empire Books (December 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1619491303
  • ISBN-13: 978-1619491304
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.7 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #764,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

292 of 311 people found the following review helpful By Mitch Scott on January 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have to admit, I'm astonished by the ease with which one can be fooled into thinking they've procured the full and legitimate content of Darwin's signature work. A couple of easy clues, though:

Darwin refers in this version to a diagram in chapter IV, to illustrate "The Probable Effects of the Process of Natural Selection Through Divergence of Character and Extinction, On the Descendants of a Common Ancestor." This diagram is absent in this version, and this absence is what started me on the road to identifying this version as a fraud. I began to search for other editions of "Origins" to see if they included the diagram. And that search found not only that most versions did contain the diagram, but that the full text of this work ran to over 550 pages - twice as many as are included in this version.

I should also have known better than to have procured a free version. You truly do get what you pay for.

Be aware, as you look for a reliable version of the work, that there are many fraudulent versions out there. I won't go into detail on this, as this review concerns this specific version. But I can say that I've purchased a version that I am satisfied is a faithful rendering of the complete content. The ISBN number is 978-0-451-52906-0. It's the 150th anniversary edition, with an introduction by Julian Huxley. Still, don't take my word for it, and do your own due diligence. There is another "150th anniversary" version with an introduction by Ray Comfort, who is a Christian prothselitizer. So be careful.

Hopefully this will prevent you from having to start reading the work again from the beginning, as I've had to do. But I'm glad to have figured it out and separated fact from fiction.
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174 of 184 people found the following review helpful By JMB1014 on February 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Note: For some reason, the Kindle edition is different from the version I reviewed. The version I reviewed is a hardback and it is not introduced by a creationist. Please be very careful in considering editions of this book, as there are many.

This edition of "On the Origin of Species" is invaluable to anyone who has been suffering without Darwin's most important work, or getting by with only a stripped-down version. The text is the first edition of the six editions Darwin oversaw in his lifetime. It's the version scientists now regard as the most powerful and passionate statement of Darwin's views. But besides the full (unabridged) "Origin," this large-format book is replete with other materials. The word "sumptuous" comes to mind. There are hundreds of amazing illustrations, maps and diagrams, many in full color. Also included are scores of substantial excerpts from other works by Darwin and correspondence between him and his contemporaries. This makes the book a treasure to have, because it is so incredibly rich in contextual materials.

For instance, pictures of T.H. Huxley are included along with Huxley's letter to Darwin, where Huxley asserted his (not altogether unconditional) support for Darwin's argument and added that he was sharpening his claws and beak in readiness - that is, to help defend Darwin from his opponents. I was also delighted with the many beautiful photographs taken in the Galapagos Islands and of life forms found there, to say nothing of the pictures of Darwin, his family, colleagues and adversaries that are interspersed throughout the book, and Darwin's own drawings, the pictures of Darwin's home near Downe, his desk, models and a detailed diagram of the H.M.S. Beagle, and so on. There is also a chronology of Darwin's life to 1864.
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124 of 135 people found the following review helpful By June J. Pilcher on June 24, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Almost everyone has heard of this book. But, how many people have actually read it? If you haven't yet, it is well-worth reading.

Darwin spent over 20 years researching his ideas, preparing his arguments, and writing this book. He did a great job! "On the Origin" is surprisingly easy to understand. Just look at the beginning. Instead of trying to leap directly into his basic idea and premise, Darwin chooses to gradually lead the reader up to the basic idea of evolution by first point out how humans have caused evolution to occur in our domesticated animals (something very easy for all humans to see even in the 1850s). Darwin then goes on to point out some of the evidence that he and others had seen at that time that indicated that evolution had occurred. His leap in understanding the basic premise of evolution is amazing especially when you consider that he did not understand or have access to information about the basics of genetic passing of traits within species.
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful By S. Plowright on January 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I will always be grateful that my parents gave me Darwin's books at the age of 9. I still treasure the works decades later. I can only imagine how much greater the impact on a young mind to have such a richly illustrated version.

We owe it to the younger generations to awaken an appreciation of the wonders of the natural world. The genius of Darwin, and the importance of his work, are too often underestimated. This volume is ideal for the whole family, particularly the children. It can not fail to inspire the reader to a greater understanding of the inter-relatedness of life on this planet, and hopefully create a desire to care a little more for our fellow creatures.

The concepts are easy to understand, and clearly explained in Darwin's own words. Indeed, his clear prose and careful reasoning make the book an excellent example for budding scientists of how science writing should be done. The illustrations and extra information really bring the man and his insights to life.
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