- Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
- Publisher: Signet; Reprint, Anniversary edition (September 2, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451529065
- ISBN-13: 978-0451529060
- Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,268 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition Mass Market Paperback – September 2, 2003
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“Next to the Bible no work has been quite as influential, in virtually every aspect of human thought, as The Origin of Species.”—Ashley Montagu
“Darwin was one of history’s towering geniuses and ranks with the greatest heroes of man’s intellectual progress.”—George Gaylord Simpson in The Meaning of Evolution
“It is clear that here is one of the most important contributions ever made to philosophic science; and it is at least behooving on scientists, in the light of the accumulation of evidence which the author has summoned in support of his theory, to reconsider the grounds on which their present doctrine of the origin of species is based.”—The New York Times
“Amazingly, 150 years after the publication of The Origin of Species, Darwin's seminal work on the theory of evolution remains the authoritative tract on the subject.”—Library Journal
About the Author
Charles Robert Darwin was born in 1809 in Shrewsbury, England. At Cambridge University he formed a friendship with J. S. Henslow, a professor of botany, and that association, along with his enthusiasm for collecting beetles, led to “a burning zeal,” as he wrote in his Autobiography, for the natural sciences. A voyage to the Southern Hemisphere on the H.M.S. Beagle between 1831 and 1836 would lay the foundation for The Origin of Species, published in 1859. His other works include The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871) and Recollections of My Mind and Character, also titled Autobiography (1887). Charles Darwin’s Diary of the Voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle was published posthumously in 1933.
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The main text is Darwin's 6th Edition.
Darwin considerably amended Origin of Species through the course of its six editions. For example he first used the expression "survival of the fittest" (coined by Herbert Spencer) in the 5th edition and he first used the term "evolution" in the 6th edition. However, he also diluted some of his arguments in an attempt to deflect criticism. Most notably he made more allowance for now discredited Lamarckian ideas of hereditable affects of use and disuse, versus pure natural selection.
It is an open argument whether the 1st edition or the 6th edition best represents his real thinking. My 2 cents would be that the differences are relatively minor in the context of the overall work. The key driving ideas are well expressed in both and either is a fine start. Just be aware that other readers of Origin of Species may have seen a slightly different text!
At $0.99 it is wildly overpriced.
For me, everything he explains about descent through modification and rudimentary organs and common ancestors not only makes sense but is corroborated by the principles of Biology concerning classification and evolution.
Darwin, contrary to how creationists reacted and are still reacting towards him, does not confront the idea of "God created everything out of nothing" and dismisses it as nonsense (except maybe a little towards the end, when he writes "Do they really believe that atoms have been commanded suddenly to flash into living tissues?"). He takes more of a perplexed approach and doesn't seem to understand why they can't look at the facts.
*** A note on the free Kindle edition: it does seem abridged and does not include the chart that the author refers to on several occasions but the gist of natural selection is in here***
Several book publishers have approached this book with fresh eyes (most recently, David Quammen). The approach makes perfect sense: take Darwin's text, and add illustrations that demonstrate Darwin's ideas in a visual format hat the author could only imagine. The disadvantage with this, of course, is that you may come closer to a coffee table book than anything else. But the "Illustrated Classics" version contains some period pictures, biological illustrations, and the like in something that comes closer to a mixed salad than a meal. For such a great price, it's a pretty good bargain; but this gathers together a variety of inexpensive and public access images that's more appealing than raw text - but some readers may want more.
I love "On the Origin of Species," but I only wish the "Illustrated Classics" version could be more compelling.
I have read this book at least four times. It is insightful, loaded with an overwhelming amount of empirical observation, and astute interpretation of those data. Darwin crafted a well thought out theory. His book sold out on the first day in 1859, and it has been in print pretty much ever since. His theory has been under attack from the non-science community and under intense scrutiny by the scientific community for the past 150 years. The result is that the theory is more complete and robust than ever.
If you really want to know what's up with Darwin and his theory, read his book. Amazon and Kindle have made it available for free. Dive in and find out for yourself what is going on.
If you do, be prepared for lots of examples of pigeons. :-)
This is a 5-star book, and every educated person in the world owes it to herself or himself to read it.
Be informed, be educated, be amazed.