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172 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous edition of the classic text, crammed with goodies
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...
Published on February 17, 2009 by JMB1014

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258 of 274 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Sham - Half the number of pages as the legitimate version, critical content omitted
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...
Published on January 8, 2012 by Melissa Shlakman


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258 of 274 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Sham - Half the number of pages as the legitimate version, critical content omitted, January 8, 2012
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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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172 of 181 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous edition of the classic text, crammed with goodies, February 17, 2009
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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. Reading this, you are getting far more than one book: the many excerpts from Darwin's earlier and later writings, and all the illustrations and other materials, provide considerable historical context for the "Origin," its development and reception, making this almost certainly the definitive edition.

If you have never read Darwin's masterpiece, this book is a first-class reason to do so. His prose is elegant - even, at times, eloquent. The argument unfolds logically and clearly. Darwin was an utterly unpretentious English gentleman, after all, who lived during the Victorian era; he was, and remains, a highly agreeable companion. (If you enjoy travel literature, Darwin's earlier "Voyage of the Beagle" is also highly readable and fascinating. It sold well in his lifetime and reads almost like an adventure story. Many excerpts from "Voyage" appear in the book under review. They may tempt you to read the other book - "Voyage of the Beagle," that is.) "On the Origin of Species" was written to be read by anyone - it is not merely for scientists or experts. Small wonder that the first edition sold out the same day it was released.

One of the most striking things about the "Origin" is how careful, even cautious, Darwin is in drawing inferences from the piles of data he had before him. (In fact, he devoted an entire chapter to describing potential objections to his own arguments. That takes candor to a very high level. Yet creationists often just read that chapter in order to find objections to evolution, as if Darwin had not already thought the matter through, and as if modern science had not already resolved those objections, since Darwin so thoughtfully and disarmingly enumerated them.) Darwin's argument thus has more force than it would if he made claims that the data did not so clearly support. Darwin's great virtue as a scientist is that he did not let his own beliefs prejudice his investigations: he let the evidence speak plainly for itself. He was humble, painstaking and forthright.

Since I originally prepared this review, another superb edition of "On the Origin of Species" has been published by Harvard's Belknap Press, which provides excellent and substantial annotations to a facsimile of the original 1859 text, on the same pages as the text itself. That is a handsome volume which is immensely helpful because the annotations (prepared by James T. Costa, a biologist himself) explain so much. Darwin's writing is precise and clear but lay readers often have questions - or would, if we knew what to ask - that are answered in the annotations. Professor Costa updates much of what is being said in the text with current scientific knowledge, explains why Darwin is saying what he is saying, and generally offers valuable insights. The result is to make Darwin's book even more accessible to the general reader. Regrettably, that volume does not have all the rich contextual materials, illustrations and selections from other works that distinguish the edition under review here. Still, if your objective is to read Darwin's seminal work and comprehend it, Costa's is doubtless as good a book as there is. Thus, while it would be ideal if both of these books could be combined, we should be vastly grateful that two such outstanding editions of this important work became available at reasonable cost during the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of "On the Origin of Species." You can take your pick, or if you really love Darwin and science, get both (as I did).

While I recommend reading "On the Origin of Species" in any edition, this is a lavish and eminently worthwhile volume, which I have added to the several editions I already own.
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123 of 133 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazingly accessible read..., June 24, 2009
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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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567 of 652 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware of anti-science content in this "trojan" edition of Origin, October 20, 2009
By 
Darwin's Origin of Species is, of course, an icon of scientific writing. It is eminently readable and accessible to nonscientists and should be read by everyone. This edition though, the "150th Anniversary Edition" is an intentional Trojan horse published exclusively to serve as a vehicle for Ray Comfort's 50 page introduction. Comfort is a young-earth creationist and rejects Darwin's theory wholesale. Every reader of this review should contact Amazon and ask them to differentiate this edition of "Origin" from legitimate republications of this epic work. Comfort's 50 page intro is an embarrassing affront to scientific honesty and integrity. Anybody who has followed his antics on the internet knows not to take him seriously, but by attaching his name and his screed to Darwin's work, and then having Amazon market it as though it's a legitimate complement to this volume, is abhorrent.
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180 of 205 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Amazon Screwup, October 20, 2009
Amazon is mixing the reviews for different versions the 150th edition of Origin of Species. The version with the preface by Ray Comfort includes creationist nonsense and should be avoided. The version that includes the preface by Julian Huxley is worth owning.
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The "Origin" Made Far More Accessible For Ordinary Readers, May 4, 2009
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This is an excellent versions of "On the Origin of Species," especially for non-specialist readers. Professor James T. Costa, who edited this book and prepared the excellent annotations, is a biologist himself and an insightful student of Darwin. He presents a facsimile of the first edition of Darwin's classic volume (accepted as the most passionate and unalloyed version of Darwin's original views, compared to the five versions that he oversaw subsequently) in a broad format: on each page, the text lies next to commentary and interpretation by Professor Costa. Darwin's writing is precise and clear but the lay reader often has questions - or would, if we knew what to ask - that are answered in the annotations. The result is a handsome edition with thought-provoking insights that vastly enhance the reader's interest and understanding. Each comment is keyed to the pertinent place in the text to which it refers by the use of an arrow and the comments provide a gloss, as it were, on those passages. Costa summarizes, explains and points out what is coming up, indicates where the same themes or ideas reappear, offers valuable context or present-day perspectives on what Darwin is saying, and so forth. These annotations are not necessarily just brief remarks but are often substantive, meaty, and very worthwile. They make the original text resonate in ways that no one but an expert would necessarily have anticipated. The result is a far more rewarding book than the "Origin" would be alone, and that is saying something.

To take just one small example, Costa explains what may puzzle many readers, namely, why Darwin starts out with a discussion of plants and animals under domestication. His comments reduce the confusion people feel (I know I did, initially) when they start reading, thus making it likelier that general readers will not be put off by the book from the outset. The reader is thus helpfully guided through Darwin's seminal work by a companionable expert.

Costa has prepared a worthwhile introduction in which he discloses his ambition that this edition will help to persuade modern students to read Darwin's original book, thereby enhancing understanding (and preventing misunderstanding) of evolution. He also laments and is perplexed by the fact that Americans seem so inclined to litigate over whether such widely accepted science can be taught in public schools. I gather he hopes by this edition to forestall some of the misunderstanding that can give rise to such litigation.

I hope Costa succeeds.

A set of biographical notes helps readers understand Darwin's references to other people and indicates where in the text one will find those references. I also inspected the bibliography/references and found it substantial and helpful, if a bit on the individualistic side. There is an index as well.

This is an attractive volume, stylishly presented by Harvard University's Belknap Press. There are no illustrations or diagrams apart from those found in the original first edition, however. The price is reasonable. Although I already have several editions of "On the Origin of Species," I was quick to buy this one. As a non-specialist, I have found the annotations extremely useful, informative, and even entertaining.
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257 of 296 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The second most misrepresented book ever written, July 7, 2003
By 
James Arvo (Pasadena, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Origin of Species (Hardcover)
There is only one other book that is so widely known, discussed, and debated, yet so rarely read: that other book is the Bible. To make my point, here is a little quiz:
1) Which name is most closely associated with the theory of evolution?
2) Which book did this person write on evolution?
3) What claims are made in that book?
4) What else is contained in that book?

With astonishing regularity, the average literate adult will respond as follows: 1) Darwin, 2) Origin of Species, 3) Humans descended from apes, and 4) I have no idea. The first two are correct, the third is absolutely false, and the fourth is an admission of complete ignorance. Considering that "Origin of Species" is over 600 pages long, and took nearly two decades to write, one would expect it to contain something more than the four simple words "Humans descended from apes," which, in fact, it neither contains nor implies. So, what DOES it contain? There is one word that best summarizes the bulk of Darwin's magnum opus: "observation".
It is a lengthy book; at times it is tedious, at times politically incorrect, and at times scientifically off-base. But, despite its numerous flaws, it is one of the greatest achievements in the history of mankind. Even if you are among the few who refuse to accept Darwin's ideas, you cannot deny their impact. The theory is the cornerstone--if not the very foundation--of modern biology. Whatever your preconceptions, you will likely be surprised by this work. Darwin was the consummate naturalist and scientist, as well as a refined and articulate gentleman. "Origin" is a delight and an epiphany to read. It's amazing how much Darwin got right, despite the fact that he had essentially no idea of how inheritance worked. It's amazing how much data Darwin carefully assembled, analyzed, and described. It's amazing how meticulously Darwin weighed the evidence, noting when competing theories made different predictions, when the available evidence was not what he would have expected, and what future evidence could completely discredit (falsify) his theory. It's amazing in its honesty.
The misconceptions about "Origin of Species" are not merely rampant, they are effectively universal, fueled (largely in the US) by the rise of creationism, which seeks first and foremost to vilify the theory of evolution as well as Darwin (often failing to distinguish between the two). It's worth the time to read this enormous but meticulously crafted volume, if only to allow you to form your own opinions about such an influential book. Once you have, take the little quiz again. You may need 600 pages to answer the last question.
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110 of 124 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Deliberate dishonesty and misinformation, October 19, 2009
By 
djarm67 (QLD Australia) - See all my reviews
****BEWARE*****

This edition contains the lies and misinformation of young earth creationism in a dishonest forward by bananaman himself Ray Comfort.

His dishonesty obviously knows no bounds.

Unless you specifically want this specific version complete with the pseudo-science introduction move along and purchase one of the legitimate copies. Do not assist with financing their lies.

DJ
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148 of 169 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ray Comfort has a Creationist Agenda, October 19, 2009
This 150th anniversary version with Ray Comfort's 50+ foreword is a disgrace to science.

Comfort has a clear Christian Creationist agenda. He knows NOTHING about Evolution, yet writes as if he has actual knowledge on the matter. His assertions are laughable.

Do yourself a favor (since Amazon isn't being helpful yet), and search for the REAL 150th anniversary edition on here, or at your local book store.
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292 of 338 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lying for Jesus!, October 19, 2009
Ray Comfort, who famously proved god with a banana, has written the forward. This is Christian propaganda. More lies for Jesus!
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On the Origin of Species (Penguin Classics)
On the Origin of Species (Penguin Classics) by Charles Darwin (Paperback - October 27, 2009)
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