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On the Origin of Species: By Means of Natural Selection (Dover Thrift Editions)

3.9 out of 5 stars 1,059 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0486450063
ISBN-10: 0486450066
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Charles Darwin was born in England in 1809 and attended the University of Edinburgh to study medicine. When he decided against that vocation, he enrolled at Cambridge where he earned a degree in theology. During an expedition to Africa and South America, Darwin continued his studies in natural science and began writing about his theories of natural selection. His work led to the publication of On the Origin of Species, a book that changed the world.

Charles Darwin: Original Thinking
Each generation of students comes to Darwin's epoch-making works, several of which are the basis of our publishing program in biology and related fields: The Essential Darwin, 2006; The Descent of Man, 2010; The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, 2006; and On the Origin of the Species, 2006.

In the Author's Own Words:

"A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there."

"I feel most deeply that this whole question of Creation is too profound for human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton! Let each man hope and believe what he can."

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

"Man with all his noble qualities, with sympathy which feels for the most debased, with benevolence which extends not only to other men but to the humblest living creature, with his god-like intellect which has penetrated into the movements and constitution of the solar system — with all these exalted powers — Man still bears in his bodily frame the indelible stamp of his lowly origin." — Charles Darwin



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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (June 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486450066
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486450063
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,059 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Caraleisa VINE VOICE on October 26, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The original book by Charles Darwin is a classic that should be on everyone's reading list. There are ample reviews here which address it, praise it, and I am completely in agreement with them. Darwin's Origin of Species is a true masterpiece.

Unfortunately, this review is to help readers/buyers realize that there is a 'vandalized' version which has been published, and to tell you how to avoid it and get the real thing.

To explain; there is yet another edition also called "The Origin of Species, 150th Anniversary Edition", put out by Christian Fundamentalist Ray Comfort in an attempt to discredit evolutionary theory and Charles Darwin, and it has some extra 50 pages of unintelligible drivel about creationism, as well as having ABRIDGED Darwin's original text. If you want to read about creationism, find another book... if you want the facts, read ALL of what Darwin has to say, and please don't give any money to Comfort by accidentally buying his ABRIDGED version.

Note that he used the EXACT same name as the 'real' anniversary edition -- "The Origin Of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition by Charles Darwin". You can easily tell which version you're getting by who wrote the introduction - go with Julian Huxley, NOT Ray Comfort, and you'll have the correct and complete version.

Also, note that Amazon reviews are mixed between the books (normally not a problem at all) - I hope they are straightening this out, but currently that's not the case. Sadly, the negative reviews of the Comfort version are bringing down the rating of the 'good/real' book.

Sorry to have to write about the 'drama', but I'm sure you want to know that you have ordered the correct book, and I know you'll love it.

Enjoy.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
My four-star rating is more for this particular product than for the work of Darwin itself. Clearly Darwin's book is the cornerstone of modern biology, and I won't even pretend to try to rate its importance using one to five stars.

However, I felt it was important to let people know that this is the *sixth* edition of the book. I ordered it thinking it was the first, although I admit I had no reason to believe that other than that it did not specify that it was any other edition. The main problem with later editions is that Darwin continually responded to his critics in subsequent editions, thus changing some aspects of his theory. He also added the obnoxious concession "by the Creator" to his beautiful final sentence in order to appease the religious critics. The sixth (final) edition even has an extra chapter in response to criticisms by Catholic biologist George Mivart (which chapter is present in this edition, thus proving it is the sixth edition).

The benefit to later editions would be that they contain minor corrections to the writing, as well as these answers to objections and criticism, but at the same time I don't feel that Darwin's answers needed to be added to the book itself. "The Origin" should simply present his theory (as the first edition does) and he could easily have answered his critics in other ways and not by editing the actual theory itself.

But to reiterate my main point, I am not reviewing the actual work of Darwin. I am posting this review to inform people of which edition they are getting with this particular book, because I wish I had known in advance.

Edit: I should add that the copy I received did not have the same cover as what is displayed here. My copy shows a bird, a wildcat, and a dolphin on the cover. The cover shown on the product page at the time of writing is of a ship. However, my copy is still the 150th Anniversary Edition (Signet Classics) with an introduction by Julian Huxley.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have to admit, I'm astonished by the ease with which one can be fooled into thinking they've procured the full and legitimate content of Darwin's signature work. A couple of easy clues, though:

Darwin refers in this version to a diagram in chapter IV, to illustrate "The Probable Effects of the Process of Natural Selection Through Divergence of Character and Extinction, On the Descendants of a Common Ancestor." This diagram is absent in this version, and this absence is what started me on the road to identifying this version as a fraud. I began to search for other editions of "Origins" to see if they included the diagram. And that search found not only that most versions did contain the diagram, but that the full text of this work ran to over 550 pages - twice as many as are included in this version.

I should also have known better than to have procured a free version. You truly do get what you pay for.

Be aware, as you look for a reliable version of the work, that there are many fraudulent versions out there. I won't go into detail on this, as this review concerns this specific version. But I can say that I've purchased a version that I am satisfied is a faithful rendering of the complete content. The ISBN number is 978-0-451-52906-0. It's the 150th anniversary edition, with an introduction by Julian Huxley. Still, don't take my word for it, and do your own due diligence. There is another "150th anniversary" version with an introduction by Ray Comfort, who is a Christian prothselitizer. So be careful.

Hopefully this will prevent you from having to start reading the work again from the beginning, as I've had to do. But I'm glad to have figured it out and separated fact from fiction.
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