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What about Darwin?: All Species of Opinion from Scientists, Sages, Friends, and Enemies Who Met, Read, and Discussed the Naturalist Who Changed the World Paperback – May 25, 2010
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An invaluable source book on the reactions of important thinkers to Darwin's ideas and to the man himself. In addition, [Glick] has created an entertaining volume that lends itself to browsing and to sparking unlikely connections.(Choice)
Wonderful nuggets of information can be gleaned from What about Darwin?, a splendid compilation of opinions of the great (and not so great) who read Darwin's works. This volume is terrific fun. Like Tennyson, get two copies; one for yourself and one to put on the side table in the guest bedroom.(Michael Ruse Quarterly Review of Biology)
What about Darwin? is a simply delightful book to browse through.(Glenn Branch Reports of the National Center for Science Education)
About the Author
Thomas F. Glick is a professor of history at Boston University and has written widely on Darwin. Among his many books are Negotiating Darwin: The Vatican Confronts Evolution, 1877–1902, also published by Johns Hopkins; The Reception of Darwinism in the Iberian World; and The Comparative Reception of Darwinism.
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Top Customer Reviews
"What about Darwin?" is indeed a book of quotes about Darwin by friendly and hostile sources, but its usefulness lies elsewhere. If you are a historian looking into the reception-history of Darwin's ideas, as well as primary sources describing the man, this is the first book you need to read. Glick organizes the quotes by last name and puts an asterix next to the names of people quoted elsewhere in the text. This allows the reader to uncover the social networks in 19th-century England and North America that helped disseminate Darwin's ideas, and critiques of those ideas.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, many of the quotes have little usefulness beyond that limited purpose. Take, for example, the entry on P.T. Barnum. Barnum, described as an "American Circus Impressario," was eminently quotable. Glick doesn't quote Barnum on Darwin, however. He quotes George Templeton Strong and an advertisement about Barnum's "What is IT?" exhibit, as well as the April 18, 1873, issue of the "Brooklyn Eagle" on Barnum's contribution to natural history. As illustration of reception-history, these quotes work well to show how Darwin's ideas were transmitted to and perceived by popular culture. But what else is a writer to make of Strong's quote: "Stopped at Barnum's on my way downtown to see the much advertised non-descript, the 'What-is-it.' [...] The creature's [...] anatomical details are fearfully simian, and he's a great fact for Darwin"?Read more ›
A summary of some of the comments of his admirers and his critics are as follows: I very much like physicist Ernst Mach's criticism of Darwin in which he observes that if preservation of species had been more important than adaptation, struggle for survival, and evolution; then species would move in a vicious circle like "perpetual motion" in physics. Albert Einstein provides a cautionary note in his opinion that human beings should not confuse the struggle for survival as a justification to dominate another human being for economic reasons. Einstein praises the depth of Darwin's investigation into the natural history of life. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche presents a notoriously anti-English, and highly critical of Darwin's theory, and uses the word "mediocre spirit" and "mediocre Englishman" few times in his criticism.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book puts Darwin in context by presenting what numerous other people from various walks of life said about him and his ideas. Read morePublished on January 27, 2011 by Irfan A. Alvi
In order to truly appreciate and enjoy this book, I believe you would have to be someone who is a serious fan of the English naturalist. Read morePublished on September 17, 2010 by Marilyn Dalrymple
This is not a book about Darwin's theory of evolution. It is a biographical dictionary that allows the reader to pick a familiar name and search to see if they had any observations... Read morePublished on June 16, 2010 by Charles M. Nobles
This scholarly book is not "about Darwin," but is instead "about the dissemination and acceptance of Darwin's ideas. Read morePublished on June 15, 2010 by Lynne E.
The idea behind this book is that Darwin influenced a vast range of people. The author mostly used two kinds of documents. Read morePublished on June 4, 2010 by Mom and Teacher
I loved this cross section of opinions about Darwin and what he wrought. Many of the ideas and notions expressed surprised me as much as by whom they are accredited as by what... Read morePublished on May 20, 2010 by Robin Simmons
I found "What about Darwin?: All Species of Opinion from Scientists, Sages, Friends, and Enemies Who met, Read, and Discussed the Naturalist Who Changed the World" to be somewhat... Read morePublished on May 13, 2010 by Wilhelmina Zeitgeist
Based on the other books he has written, Dr. Glick appears to very knowledgeable about Darwin. Sadly, this book doesn't display Dr. Glick's knowledge very well. Read morePublished on May 2, 2010 by Tim Warneka
This book, I must confess, is not what I expected and I'm a bit disappointed in it. I had envisioned a history of how the scientific theory of evolution and its originator, Charles... Read morePublished on May 1, 2010 by Roger D. Launius