Charles Darwin by A.N. Wilson
Victorian Mythmaker

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review

...despite a few pious throat-clearings on the dust jacket to the contrary, he has no interest in balance, no desire to be nice about the man whom he blames for pretty much everything that went wrong in the 20th century, from totalitarianism to the decline of organised religion.
-Guardian

Synopsis

A radical reappraisal of Charles Darwin from the bestselling author of Victoria: A Life.

With the publication of On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin—hailed as the man who "discovered evolution"—was propelled into the pantheon of great scientific thinkers, alongside Galileo, Copernicus, and Newton. Eminent writer A. N. Wilson challenges this long-held assumption. Contextualizing Darwin and his ideas, he offers a groundbreaking critical look at this revered figure in modern science.

In this beautifully written, deeply erudite portrait, Wilson argues that Darwin was not an original scientific thinker, but a ruthless and determined self-promoter who did not credit the many great sages whose ideas he advanced in his book. Furthermore, Wilson contends that religion and Darwinism have much more in common than it would seem, for the acceptance of Darwin's theory involves a pretty significant leap of faith.

Armed with an extraordinary breadth of knowledge, Wilson explores how Darwin and his theory were very much a product of their place and time. The "Survival of the Fittest" was really the Survival of Middle Class families like the Darwins—members of a relatively new economic strata who benefited from the rising Industrial Revolution at the expense of the working classes. Following Darwin’s theory, the wretched state of the poor was an outcome of nature, not the greed and neglect of the moneyed classes. In a paradigm-shifting conclusion, Wilson suggests that it remains to be seen, as this class dies out, whether the Darwinian idea will survive, or whether it, like other Victorian fads, will become a footnote in our intellectual history.

Brilliant, daring, and ambitious, Charles Darwin explores this legendary man as never before, and challenges us to reconsider our understanding of both Darwin and modern science itself.

 

About A.N. Wilson

See more books from this Author
A. N. Wilson grew up in Staffordshire and was educated at Rugby and New College, Oxford. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he holds a prominent position in the world of literature and journalism. He is a prolific and award-winning biographer and celebrated novelist. He lives in North London.
 
Published December 12, 2017 by Harper. 432 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Charles Darwin
All: 1 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Kathryn Hughes on Aug 30 2017

...despite a few pious throat-clearings on the dust jacket to the contrary, he has no interest in balance, no desire to be nice about the man whom he blames for pretty much everything that went wrong in the 20th century, from totalitarianism to the decline of organised religion.

Read Full Review of Charles Darwin: Victorian Myt... | See more reviews from Guardian

Rate this book!

Add Review
×