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

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Synopsis

"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.
 

About David Quammen

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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.
 
Published July 17, 2007 by W. W. Norton & Company. 304 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Professional & Technical, Computers & Technology. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Reluctant Mr. Darwin

Kirkus Reviews

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Quammen (Monster of God, 2003, etc.) focuses on how Darwin arrived at his theory of evolution by natural selection.

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The New York Times

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(Quite right — don’t believe those who tell you it is brilliantly written.) “The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication” is identified as one of his “somniferous duds” though we don’t really hear why (it foundered under a welter of facts, as the respectable Darwin — so fearful of cri...

Aug 27 2006 | Read Full Review of The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An ...

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Apr 17 2006 | Read Full Review of The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An ...

Publishers Weekly

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(He writes, for example, that Darwin did "a vast amount of scholarly nibbling and scribbling.") It took Darwin 21 years (and the threat that someone else might publish first) to publish his theory because almost all his contemporaries held theological views of nature, and his wife feared that she...

Sep 04 2006 | Read Full Review of The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An ...

Entertainment Weekly

Through lucid and invigorating prose in The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, David Quammen presents the triumph of a private, intense genius — battling afflictions mental, spiritual, and physical — and illuminates a largely misunderstood theory still at the white-hot center of national debate.

Jul 21 2006 | Read Full Review of The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An ...

Bookmarks Magazine

Debra Gwartney Rocky Mountain News 4 of 5 Stars "Quammen paints the shy, perennially ill, ‘reluctant’ Darwin as simply human: neither the towering scientific demigod portrayed by certain evolutionists, nor the seething, godless demon vilified by many creationists."

Aug 22 2007 | Read Full Review of The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An ...

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