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Evolution: Making Sense of Life 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1936221172
ISBN-10: 1936221179
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

The New York Times Book Review calls Carl Zimmer as fine a science essayist as we have. Zimmer is the author of ten books, including Parasite Rex, which the Los Angeles Times called a book capable of changing how we see the world, and Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, which Scientific American described as as fine a book as one will find on the subject. His 2009 textbook The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution, was named by Choice as an outstanding academic title of the year. Edward O. Wilson praised the book, saying, "The Tangled Bank is the best written and best illustrated introduction to evolution of the Darwin centennial decade, and also the most conversant with ongoing research. It is excellent for students, the general public, and even other biologists." In addition to books, Zimmer also writes articles for the New York Times and magazines such as National Geographic, Scientific American, and Discover, where he is a contributing editor. His journalism has earned him numerous awards; he has won the National Academies Science Communication Award, and he is a two-time winner of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award. He lectures regularly at universities and museums and is a frequent guest on radio programs such as This American Life, and RadioLab. Douglas J. Emlen is a professor at the University of Montana, where he conducts research on the evolution of animal development. After earning his Ph.D. at Princeton, he spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at Duke University before coming to Montana. Emlen's research has earned him the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering from the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, multiple research awards from the National Science Foundation, including their five-year CAREER award, and a Young Investigator Prize by the American Society of Naturalists. Emlen's research has been featured in outlets including The New York Times and National Public Radio's Fresh Air. His book, Animal Weapons: The Stories Behind Nature's Most Extravagant Structures will be published by Henry Holt in 2013.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Roberts and Company Publishers; 1 edition (August 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936221179
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936221172
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This work is intended as a college textbook, and so perhaps not the best choice for a general audience. For readers primarily looking for a highly credible, accessible, and well-written overview of evolutionary theory, I'd recommend Zimmer's earlier Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea or his The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution. Likewise, if you're not sure why evolutionary theory is established and respected science, and so you want the case against the "controversy," I would bump Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True to the top of the list.

As a college textbook, however, Evolution: Making Sense of Life succeeds wonderfully in the following aspects.

The science it presents is both current and balanced. Recent work - and controversies - in the field are covered. But the text makes clear what has been widely accepted as valid science. What is new and promising, and seems well on its way to becoming valid, established science. And what is currently speculative or highly contentious. Both Douglas J. Emlen, the scientist, and Carl Zimmer, the science writer, do their best to avoid bias. And unlike too much of popular science writing, Evolution: Making Sense of Life is free of rant, polemic, and grandiose speculation.

The text is beautifully and extensively illustrated. The graphical representations of data and processes actually make sense. Colorful, accessible, coherent.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is definitely the most interesting text book I have had to read for school. I am a wildlife biology major and have to take a genetics course. I actually don't mind having to read in this book. Provides good conceptual examples and good pictures/diagrams. Makes learning more fun!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am grateful and thankful Professor Lahti switches to this textbook (2012) in this semester (Fall 2016). I was reading the other textbook which is also nice but not as enjoyable as this one. The truth is that the subject of evolution is not an easy task for an ESL, especially someone has ADD. And yet authors put so much effort on using simple English and ample of examples to illustrate the mathematical models (in boxes) which I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Although some of the chapters I have to reread two to three times or spend days to grab the ideas, I do learn many statistical models and genetic concepts which I only have some basic knowledge. One thing I have to mention. It seems like authors really like fry. Whenever he mentions about fishes, he is always talking about fry which make me very hungry :)

BTW, make sure if you purchase a second handbook don't choose Amazon Marketplace, there is a 6 to 7 inches cut on the back of the book. I wrote them feedback of it, they have no response whatsoever.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has served me well for studying for my evolution class! Bought it used and is in fantastic condition! Overall a great book and much cheaper than the second edition, but with most of the content!
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By Bach on September 28, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Really simple book to read and refer back too. It helped me clarify any misunderstandings or gaps in my evolution lecture notes. It helps that the text isn't dense like many other textbooks and the way the authors write is actually engaging.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have bought this book last year as a requirement for a graduate level evolution class and this book has been one of the most interesting books I have read. It gives clear illustrations, and explains science at work when it comes to discoveries of evolution. Another perk to this text book were the boxes that answered questions and had advice for skeptical people and critics of evolution.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. Even people who want to just learn a little bit more on evolution. It is an easy read, and I can enjoy reading chapter after chapter. You don't get that in most text books.
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Format: Hardcover
That rare thing, a textbook one can read for pleasure. Overall narrative as well constructed as a first-rate novel, and the whole approach based on current scientific practice (e.g. radiometric dating approached through isochrons) without sacrificing either rigor or readability.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This textbook reads like a novel while laying out vital concepts of the theory in a very clear and concise way. Everything one needs to know about evolution, this book is a summation of the current state of the theory of evolution by natural selection, supported by the finest scientists of their fields.
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