The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution (Great Discoveries)

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9780393329957: The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution (Great Discoveries)

"Quammen brilliantly and powerfully re-creates the 19th century naturalist's intellectual and spiritual journey."--Los Angeles Times Book Review

Twenty-one years passed between Charles Darwin's epiphany that "natural selection" formed the basis of evolution and the scientist's publication of On the Origin of Species. Why did Darwin delay, and what happened during the course of those two decades? The human drama and scientific basis of these years constitute a fascinating, tangled tale that elucidates the character of a cautious naturalist who initiated an intellectual revolution.

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About the Author:

David Quammen is the author of The Song of the Dodo, among other books. He has been honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and is the recipient of a John Burroughs Medal and the National Magazine Award. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.

From AudioFile:

Why did Charles Darwin, hitting upon the idea of natural selection in 1838, wait 21 years to present his startling discovery? Was he shy? Was the idea not ready for public scrutiny? Or was he himself spiritually troubled by it? Quammen, understandably perplexed by this caution, examines the great man's life, following the growth of his ideas to hypothesize why he delayed publication. Grover Gardner's reading pulses with the excitement of Quammen's quest. As the author sifts through Darwin's developing insights and personality quirks, including anxiety and compulsive vomiting, Gardner is perfectly alert to the author's subtle irony and humor, which Quammen could hardly avoid. Portraying Darwin respectfully and fully aware of his stature, Quammen never loses sight of the Victorian roots that troubled Darwin all his life. P.E.F. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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