On the Origin of Species: The Illustrated Edition

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9781402789595: On the Origin of Species: The Illustrated Edition
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Now in paperback, this richly illustrated edition of Charles Darwin's paradigm-shattering masterpiece brings Darwin's life and controversial theories into full view. Edited and with an introduction by award-winning science journalist David Quammen, it features more than 300 illustrations, including paintings, personal photographs, botanical and zoological studies, and newspaper engravings. Excerpts from Darwin's other works, especially The Voyage of the Beagle, and facsimile pages from his letters and diaries invite readers to experience Darwin's journey and scientific breakthrough. 

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Review:

It's hard to talk about The Origin of Species without making statements that seem overwrought and fulsome. But it's true: this is indeed one of the most important and influential books ever written, and it is one of the very few groundbreaking works of science that is truly readable.

To a certain extent it suffers from the Hamlet problem--it's full of clichés! Or what are now clichés, but which Darwin was the first to pen. Natural selection, variation, the struggle for existence, survival of the fittest: it's all in here.

Darwin's friend and "bulldog" T.H. Huxley said upon reading the Origin, "How extremely stupid of me not to have thought of that." Alfred Russel Wallace had thought of the same theory of evolution Darwin did, but it was Darwin who gathered the mass of supporting evidence--on domestic animals and plants, on variability, on sexual selection, on dispersal--that swept most scientists before it. It's hardly necessary to mention that the book is still controversial: Darwin's remark in his conclusion that "Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history" is surely the pinnacle of British understatement. --Mary Ellen Curtin

Book Description:

Jim Endersby's major new scholarly edition debunks some of the myths that surround Darwin's book, and expores how it was originally written, published and read. Endersby provides a new, up-to-date and very readable introduction to this classic text and a level of scholarly apparatus unmatched by any other edition.

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