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Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life Paperback – September 1, 2002
Scientific Teaching Series
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Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Comparisons to Darwin run throughout the book, quite naturally. Darwin's background was such that he never had to worry much about getting an education or earning a living. Wallace was the son of an attorney who fared poorly, and throughout his life had to fret about money. His formal schooling ended at age 14, and he eventually took up as a professional collector, selling prized specimens from the Amazon and the Malay Archipelago to museums and armchair naturalists. His explorations enabled him to view island species and boundaries, and in 1858, recovering from Malaria, he had his inspiration of survival of the fittest. He wrote from Malay to Darwin a paper about his ideas. Darwin was startled. He could not honorably publish his ideas, now that Wallace had come up with them independently, but he also did not want to lose the prize of his years of work on what turned out to be the backbone of biology.Read more ›
Raby traces the development of a man who almost beggars analysis. Wallace's life was dogged by near penury due to family commitments and lack of regular employment. His decision to explore the upper Amazon basin was almost an act of desparation, but it led to a lifelong interest in nature and "primitive" people. Overcoming the loss of four years of exploration and study, he recovered deftly with a long-term examination of the East Indies archipelago. Early flirtations with socialist ideals gave him a more sympathetic view of indigenous people than the average Victorian Briton. He adopted a strong sense of independence from authoritarian measures, leading him to oppose land enclosures and vaccination, which he saw as doing more harm than good. The great issue in his later years was spiritualism.Read more ›
Raby lays out Wallace's remarkably open relationship with Darwin, unusual for two people who publicly presented critical new ideas nearly simultaneously. The debate about priority is covered specifically in the last chapter but relevant portions of the extant letters between Darwin and Wallace are spelled out in the main body of the text. The heart of the book is Wallace's adventures in the tropics as a Victorian naturalist. They display Wallace's courage and incredible determination to find and analyze new species. The maps are superb and allow the reader to follow Wallace's travels in detail. Raby also shows Wallace's typical Victorian attitudes and actions that disturb modern readers, from shooting specimens of orangutans and birds of paradise (so that they could be sent back to England) to attitudes toward natives. Wallace was a mixture. He had the 19th century European "moral" superiority toward native people but he also many times publicly expressed a strong criticism of the exploitation of the environment and native people by Europeans.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A complete and honest biography of the man himself as well as his scientific achievements toward the theory of evolution. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Donovan McIntire
Peter Raby has produced an excellent biography of Alfred Russel Wallace. It outlines Wallace’s career as a widely-travelling professional collector of plants and animals, as a... Read morePublished 16 months ago by P. Webster
Excellent book; the race is on between Charles Darwin and Wallace. They became good friends and helped each other through years of research and wrote a large amount of letters back... Read morePublished on April 1, 2014 by Don Popejoy
This book is not what it is advertised as being. Toward the front of the book it states that there are 37 "black and white plates," but there are none in this book. Read morePublished on February 11, 2014 by M. B.
There never has been a genius who was not also quirky, it seems. Wallace's work, as most educated people will already know, paralleled that of his contemporary, Darwin, to whom... Read morePublished on November 8, 2012 by Larry N. Stout
Alfred Russell Wallace was a name known to me as one of the great thinkers and naturalists of Victorian England and the man who worked out a theory of natural selection before... Read morePublished on June 1, 2012 by Anne Salazar
If you want to enrich your picture of where the theory of evolution came from, how men saw it emerge "on the ground," rather than in specimen jars and private laboratories, this... Read morePublished on June 12, 2008 by Alan Venable
As the great scientist Newton said " I see further for I stand on the shoulders of giants". Wallace may have seen further than Darwin when he suggested that we have souls that... Read morePublished on December 22, 2005 by observer