Top critical review
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More of a history of ideas than a biology text
on June 3, 2006
This book is about the history of the concepts around which the "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" developed, flourished and eventually faded out. Gould goes into the viewpoint of every significant biological thinker that ever thought anything about this phrase, and what that thinker thought about all the other thinkers.
If you are really interested in the history of evolutionary thought, there is a point to reading this. But if you are just interested in reading about neat biological examples/life histories/concepts, this book is serious overkill.
It is probably not fair to rate this book for what it is not, instead of what it is. However, once I decided to read this book (and I read it twice, with several years between), I found that I didn't enjoy the reading that much. As Mark Twain remarked about some piece of music, the book is not as long as it seems. But it sure does seem long!