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Charles Darwin: The Concise Story of an Extraordinary Man Kindle Edition
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Two hundred years after Charles Darwin’s birth (February 12, 1809), this thoroughly illustrated, yet concise biography reveals the great scientist as husband, father, and friend.
Tim M. Berra tells the fascinating story of the man and the idea that changed everything. Berra discusses Darwin’s revolutionary scientific work, its impact on modern-day biological science, and the influence of Darwin’s evolutionary theory on Western thought. But Berra digs deeper to reveal Darwin the man by combining anecdotes with carefully selected illustrations and photographs.
This small gem of a book includes 20 color plates and 60 black-and-white illustrations, along with an annotated list of Darwin’s publications and a chronology of his life.
“Berra meets the essential curiosities a reader new to Darwin will have about a scientist still controversial in some quarters: Berra describes Darwin’s wealthy family background; notes his search for a purpose in life, which led to his embarkation on the survey ship HMS Beagle; chronicles Darwin’s fabled voyage on that ship; steers Darwin into his happy marriage to an heiress to the Wedgwood pottery fortune; and recounts the éclat with which On the Origin of Species burst upon the world in 1859. . . . A finer asset of this volume is its abundance of portraits and illustrations, including a suite of photos taken by Berra of Darwin’s home.” —Booklist
About the Author
Tim M. Berra is professor emeritus of evolution, ecology, and organismal biology at the Ohio State University and a three-time Fulbright grant recipient. He is the author of several books, including Evolution and the Myth of Creationism.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
"The ensemble of text and illustrations will render an indelible image of Darwin for those beginning to study him, and evolution, while a brief bibliography points the way to further exploration."(Booklist)
"This succinct biography spans Darwin's life in 15 brief chapters and reads like a museum guide, hitting the high points in an easily assimilated style. The copious illustrations, though, including reproductions of period paintings, title page facsimiles, and many of the author's own photographs, are worth poring over and may hold readers' attention longer than it takes to peruse the text. Patrons who want a quick, no-frills but still authoritative read on Darwin's life couldn't find a better source."(Library Journal)
"A splendid overview derived from a series of lectures, and beautifully illustrated, with a detailed publishing history of all of Darwin's works."(Nicholas Basbanes finebooksmagazine.com)
"Charles Darwin: The Concise Story of an Extraordinary Man is the best brief biography on the market."(Northern Territory News)
"Berra moves quickly through the life, yet finds time to include telling details, as well as sketches of appealing secondary characters."(David Lumsden Australian Book Review)
"Berra, a retired professor of evolution who gives popular lectures on Darwin, writes leanly and to the point, but still produces a vivid and detailed portrait."(Scott LaFee San Diego Union-Tribune)
"This work will be useful for introductory students and the general public... Recommended. All undergraduate and public libraries."(Choice)
"This jewel box of a book offers an imminently readable tour of the great man. Every spread includes illustrations with fascinating captions."(Jeffrey Cyphers Wright Brooklyn Rail)
"Berra has done masterful work, providing a lively and succinct account of Darwin's life that will provide an excellent introduction for the new reader who is interested in Darwin as well as a helpful review for knowledgeable Darwin enthusiasts!"(Charles F. Urbanowicz Reports of the National Center for Science Education)
"There can be no doubt that this book will be very warmly received by Darwin enthusiasts because it is a passionate, well-informed, entertaining and colourful introduction to his life and achievements."(Marta Cunat Romero European Review of History) --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B0030T2ACE
- Publisher : Johns Hopkins University Press; Illustrated edition (December 1, 2008)
- Publication date : December 1, 2008
- Language : English
- File size : 4539 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Not Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : Not Enabled
- Print length : 157 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,666,717 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- #1,162 in 19th Century World History
- #1,225 in Biographies of Scientists
- #1,547 in Evolution (Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Though mainly a descriptive biography, Berra's narrative also contains insightful explanations of Darwin's thought processes in discovering the historical fact of biological evolution and its integral mechanism of chance variation mediated by natural selection. Included are such key details as Darwin's own capsule definition of evolution (descent with modification), and his pioneering use of a "tree of life" diagram, the sole illustration in "On the Origin of Species." Darwin's rare missteps, such as his mistaken suspicion that acquired characteristics could be inherited, are neither ignored nor glossed over.
Darwin's sudden realization in 1858 that he had a serious intellectual competitor, Alfred Russel Wallace, caused him great mental and physical distress. But it also had the beneficial effect of goading him into publishing "Origin" within a year. What might have become a bitter rivalry was peacefully handled by simultaneous presentations of the theory as a co-discovery. Berra includes an 1860 quotation from Wallace showing his remarkably unselfish admiration for the depth and quality of Darwin's work.
The author is careful to set things straight regarding Darwin's often-misunderstood religious views, including the apparently fictional deathbed conversion. Although his chief objective was simply to study and understand natural history, Darwin inadvertantly found himself in the position of having made the most important discovery since Biblical times bearing on the question of divine versus natural origins for living things. As a young man he had begun training for the ministry, so he fully appreciated the religious sensibilities of most people, including his beloved wife Emma. He was a keen observer and interpreter of all kinds of evidence, such as the many apparent cruelties built into nature and the seemingly senseless deaths of two of his own children. Perhaps the essence of Darwin's final attitude toward faith-based claims anticipated the conclusion voiced in 1959 by physicist Richard Feynman: "The religious theory of the world...doesn't fit with what you see."