- Series: Books That Changed the World
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Grove Press; Reprint edition (February 18, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802143466
- ISBN-13: 978-0802143464
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 25 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #318,198 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Darwin's Origin of Species: Books That Changed the World Paperback – February 18, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. It may seem peculiar to write a biography of a book, but Darwin's Origin of Species is certainly a worthy subject. A foremost Darwin biographer, Browne takes a straightforward approach to the life and times of this famous tome, beginning with Darwin's early years and journey around the world. She then explains how he developed his theory of evolution (a word that doesn't appear in the first edition) during his years as a country scientist. Darwin included an unusual chapter on things he couldn't yet explain with his theory. On publication, the book gained instant celebrity around the globe—even Queen Victoria took notice of it, though she mused that the book would be too difficult for her to understand. In her discussion of the storm the book aroused, Browne makes the fascinating point that Darwin highly respected his American friend Asa Gray, whose views were very similar to those of today's advocates of intelligent design. Browne's final chapter on the book's legacy isn't comprehensive, but it's a good summary of subsequent modifications to Darwin's theory. This excellent introduction is highly recommended for all readers who want to better understand the heated debates that this book still causes today. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browne is probably the most knowledgeable living Charles Darwin expert. Author of a two-volume biography detailing his remarkable and influential life, she now presents a biography of the book that made Darwin a household name, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859). Browne's contribution to the Books That Changed the World series is written with verve as she emphasizes the immediacy of the book's impact as Darwin shattered the biblical Creation story with a theory elegant in its simplicity. Naturally, religious leaders and other believers in faith over facts challenged the book's evolutionary vision. But Darwin's logic withstood all scrutiny. A mild man with a relentlessly curious, profoundly scientific mind, Darwin never intended to upset his world's moral values, nor could he have imagined that his book would transform Western thought. Steve Weinberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
This is one out of a series of short books entitled "Books That Changed the World." It is yet another example of the recent trend toward concise volumes (this one runs 174 pages including index) that, despite their brevity, cram in a tremendous amount of useful information. After a brief introduction, the first two chapters are mini-biographies of Darwin prior to publication of the "Origin." As always, Browne is interested on the books and ideas (Lyell, Malthus, etc.) that shaped Darwin's own perspective. Since Browne knows more about Darwin than anyone else, these brief chapters are rich indeed in insight and perception--small gems. Next, Browne moves on to the actual publication of the "Origin" and the Victorian intellectual framework into which it was released. The controversy the book unleashed is covered in the next chapter, perhaps the longest and surely the most concentrated in the book. If anything, too much information is included here, especially for readers new to Darwin and Victorian science, and it is covered rather quickly. The final chapter deals with developments occurring from Darwin's death up until virtually the present, particularly in genetics and other scientific developments ultimately upholding Darwin's thesis.
The book includes brief notes and a short bibliography, as well as a fine index. "Origin of Species" did indeed "change the world" and this fine introduction hopefully will facilitate greater and wider understanding of Darwin's enormous contribution to science and our understanding of the world we inhabit.
This book is a blend of biography, history of the times in relationship to evolutionary theory and its competing theories, how Darwin's theory came about, a history of Darwin's writing and their development over time (not just Origin of Species), what the legacy of Darwin's theory has been and what recent developments have been impacting the theory of evolution (i.e., the impact of genetic theory of evolution). The book does a very good job at touching at all these topics in its relatively short length. Very good for the lay reader who is looking for a decent combination of all of the above. For a reader looking for an-depth discussion of any of the above however, this would not be the book to read. It is only intended as a survey of the above topics and in that it succeeds.
The CD is very beautifully read and quite eloquent. Unquestionably one of the best audiobooks this reviewer has had the pleasure to listen to (and this reviewer listens to many). The reader is always enthusiastic, never monotone and the accent captures well both the times and the author. Very good for long trips as well as listening to on one's daily commute to and from work (when one is most tired). The audio portion of the book is a five star while the content itself is a four star.