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The Annotated <i>Origin</i>: A Facsimile of the First Edition of <i>On the Origin of Species</i> Paperback – Facsimile, April 15, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 28 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

On the Origin of Species has too long been one of those worthy books whose fate is to be lauded but unread. Jim Costa's deft commentary―an authoritative and engaging mix of history and science―will change that. The Origin is forbidding and inaccessible no longer―it has evolved! The Annotated Origin restores, for modern readers, the freshness and excitement that made it a bestseller when it first appeared. Charles Darwin, I'm sure, couldn't wish for a better 200th birthday present. (Andrew Berry, editor of Infinite Tropics: An Alfred Russel Wallace Anthology)

Despite being 150 years old, the Origin is a living text for biologists. It is full of unsurpassed natural history observations, a model of careful scientific argument that still can catch the imagination with the grandeur of the views it puts forward. Jim Costa has provided an exceptionally lucid explanation. (Janet Browne, author of Charles Darwin: The Power of Place)

Brilliant. (Bernd Heinrich, author of The Snoring Bird: My Family's Journey through a Century of Biology)

The Annotated Origin is a culminating and, in an original manner of its own, the most useful of the centennial Darwin publications. It gives you the choice of reading page by page the original Origin, or its modern interpretation, or both together. (Edward O. Wilson)

Jim Costa does a wonderful job of annotating Darwin's groundbreaking classic On the Origin of Species. In more than 900 notes, he explains, expands, contextualizes and updates much of what Darwin had to say about evolution and its causes… Costa's thoughtful and informative notes enable readers to gain a much fuller appreciation for Darwin's genius and breadth of knowledge―a fine tribute in the great scientist's bicentennial year. (Publishers Weekly 2009-03-09)

Clearly worth attention… Costa makes use of his experience as a field naturalist and his knowledge of the modern literature of evolutionary biology to illumine many passages in Darwin's work. (Richard C. Lewontin New York Review of Books 2009-05-28)

Everyone knows about [On the Origin of Species], but I venture to guess that few non-scholars have actually read it. Now, along comes James T. Costa with this facsimile. The index to the new edition, and especially Costa's wonderful annotations, make this classic text not only approachable, but positively inviting… Biologists will probably enjoy this book, but it is a particular gift to laypeople, especially to biology teachers. They can take excerpts from the book into their classes and show their students how Charles Darwin arrived at his insightful and revolutionizing idea. (Dudley Barlow Education Digest 2009-11-01)

The Annotated Origin should be on the shelf of every practitioner of the life sciences. James T. Costa has rendered a valuable service to the profession by making the single most influential work in the history of biology both accessible and relevant to modern readers. Costa is aware that most students of biological science have at best merely glanced at Darwin's great book, but certainly have never read it through. By making visible what he calls the breathtaking sweep of Darwin's method, he has made a compelling argument for taking a page from Darwin's playbook in making the case for biological evolution… Darwin has sometimes been portrayed as a plodding scientist, a good observer whose second-rate status is masked by the pregnancy of the grand idea he stumbled upon. Costa's work is a wonderful refutation of this portrait. No one who follows Costa through The Annotated Origin can possibly doubt Darwin's exceptional stature. There is no better tribute he could have made for this celebration of Darwin's 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his masterpiece. (Frederick Gregory BioScience 2009-11-01)

It's entirely possible―I think it's likely―that when the overwhelming and heartwarming cascade of attention to the 2009 anniversary of Darwin's 1809 birth and 1859 publication of On the Origin of Species has at last subsided, the palm for Best in Show will go to James Costa's beautifully-produced and scrupulously, joyously annotated version of the Origin. The idea is so simple that it flies considerably below the fray of mammoth biographies and shrill pie-fights with the so-called 'New Atheists': take the text of one of the most seminal and subversive books ever written, and add a thoroughly informed and entertaining running commentary. This is exactly what Costa does, and it bears all the marks of being a labor of love… This is the finest book of its kind ever produced. It should tide you over quite well until 2059. (Steve Donoghue Open Letters Monthly 2009-10-29)

I should like to recommend the best, and most informative book to emerge from the [Darwin Year] extravaganza. It merits reading with complete attention, for it is also a fairly honest book, presenting Darwin in his historical context, and in the evolution of his own thinking, while drawing lines of connection, wherever they can be found, between the original insights and the best lab and field work of 'neo-Darwinism' today. The book is by James T. Costa, entitled The Annotated Origin. The first edition of Origin of Species is reprinted on wide pages with annotations down the outside columns. There are supplementary aids, including an excellent biographical directory of Darwin's predecessors and contemporaries. No one seriously interested in Darwinian phenomena should dare not to buy this book. (David Warren Ottawa Citizen 2009-09-27)

About the Author

James T. Costa is Executive Director of Highlands Biological Station and Professor of Biology at Western Carolina University.

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Product details

  • Publisher : Belknap Press; Facsimile edition (April 15, 2011)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 576 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0674060172
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0674060173
  • Item Weight : 2.06 pounds
  • Dimensions : 8.1 x 1.32 x 8.09 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 28 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
28 global ratings
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2 star 0% (0%) 0%
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Top reviews from other countries

Samuel Ruiz
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelentes anotaciones
Reviewed in Mexico on September 27, 2019
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A. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Reviewed in Canada on August 25, 2013
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