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Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith Hardcover – January 6, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
I loved it!
Charles and Emma, though a non-fiction book, paints the world of the Darwins with all the beauty, exquisite detail, and polish of the best historical novels. Far from a dry tome, in short order one can FEEL what it was like to live in the early to mid-1800's, and more than one reviewer has noted that flavors of Jane Austen percolate through the book. I would add bits of Charles Dickens, and even a bit of Melville while Heiligman describes the incredible voyage that Charles took on the Beagle to the Galapagos. What is completely absent is the harsh, occasionally cringe-inducing ferocity of a Richard Dawkins or a Stephen Jay Gould (both of whom I have the highest respect for).Read more ›
As a fan of science writing, biography, historical settings, and young adult literature, I felt like Charles and Emma was written just for me. The religious issues along with the romantic aspects brought drama to what might have otherwise been a traditional biography. The religious and romantic elements might also move some fiction readers toward nonfiction. Many adult biographies can be academic and dry, so I enjoyed the simple language, conversational style, and topical emphasis of this book written for young adults. I don't normally think of biographies as "page turners," but the story was a really "quick read."
Heiligman wove interesting primary source materials and stories into the book. I particularly enjoyed the "to marry" and "no to marry" list. I could relate to this very analytical approach. I could also connect to his obsession with "knowing everything" about a particular topic such as his species studies.
Combining the stories of Charles and Emma made the book unique. As I read the story I wondered about the impact of spouses on other scientists. I'd like to see other books taking this approach to biography.
So much of YA literature focuses on realistic fiction (teen angst and melodrama) and fantasy (vampires, werewolves, dystopia) that it's great to see a book written for nerdy teens like I was! In publisher's quest for "high profit" books, they often forget that there's a market for engaging biographies, readable nonfiction, and quality storytelling outside traditional fiction categories.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I used this book to teach evolution to my 8th grade science students. You'd be surprised at how capable 8th graders can be of having respectful discussion on this topic! Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Another useless suggestion from Amazon... Another 1 star rating from me. Hoping to eliminate unwanted items from clogging my suggestionsPublished 1 month ago by Tessandori
I loved this book. I learned a lot about Charles Darwin's personal life. I am not a Darwinist, but I can appreciate the man and his work, his contributions to science, and his... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
This was a fascinating book, bringing to light Darwin's personal story in a most interesting way. It was written for young adults, but both my husband and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Beverly Labovitz
It's a long book with a slow beginning , it's just a dreary biography about charles Darwin.
Would not recommend