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The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution (Great Discoveries) by [David Quammen]
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The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution (Great Discoveries) Reprint Edition, Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 90 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Charles Darwin took 20 years to write his theory of natural selection: he produced On the Origin of Species only on learning that he was about to be scooped. Was he a chronic procrastinator? Or was he afraid of the reaction of his peers, who had scorned earlier books on the "transmutation" of species? A bit of both came into play, but as acclaimed science journalist Quammen (Song of the Dodo) shows, during those two decades, Darwin was busy conducting scientific research that would bolster his observations of the finches and mockingbirds of the Galápagos Islands. He raised pigeons and theorized that domestic varieties could be traced back to a species of wild dove. He floated asparagus seeds in saltwater to explain how plants moved from one continent to another. Quammen commences his portrait with Darwin's homecoming from his five-year trip on the Beagle and then focuses on how he gained enough confidence and evidence to publish a book that would displace humankind from its privileged position as a special creation. This often slyly witty book stands out among the flood of books being published for Darwin's bicentenary. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.


A concise, tightly focused, engaging, and informative biography that...provides a satisfying portrait of this controversial man. -- Gloria Maxwell, Library Journal

Quammen reveals Darwin's story as sad and heroic by turns. -- Adrian Desmond, New York Times Book Review

With clarity, brevity, and quick, colorful anecdotes, [Quammen] sketches a compelling story. -- Gregory M. Lamb, Christian Science Monitor --This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • File size : 710 KB
  • Publication date : July 17, 2007
  • Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (July 17, 2007)
  • ASIN : B0028OMVEE
  • Print length : 242 pages
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Language: : English
  • Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Enabled
  • Lending : Not Enabled
  • X-Ray : Not Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
90 global ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on June 8, 2008
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15 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2009
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Top reviews from other countries

Mrs J M Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable, informative read...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 6, 2016
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One person found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 12, 2014
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Eleonora Scudo
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Reviewed in Italy on September 18, 2020
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Delphine Guy-Grand
5.0 out of 5 stars The reluctant Mr Darwin
Reviewed in France on May 25, 2013
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alan b
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 28, 2015
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