Darwin and His Children: His Other Legacy

Darwin and His Children: His Other Legacy

by Tim M. Berra
     
 

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While much has been written about the life and works of Charles Darwin, the lives of his ten children remain largely unexamined. Most "Darwin books" consider his children as footnotes to the life of their famous father and close with the death of Charles Darwin. This is the only book that deals substantially with the lives of his children from their birth

Overview

While much has been written about the life and works of Charles Darwin, the lives of his ten children remain largely unexamined. Most "Darwin books" consider his children as footnotes to the life of their famous father and close with the death of Charles Darwin. This is the only book that deals substantially with the lives of his children from their birth to their death, each in his or her own chapter. Tim Berra's Darwin and His Children: His Other Legacy explores Darwin's marriage to his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood, a devout Unitarian, who worried that her husband's lack of faith would keep them apart in eternity, and describes the early death of three children of this consanguineous marriage. Many of the other children rose to prominence in their own fields. William Darwin became a banker and tended the Darwin family's substantial wealth. Henrietta Darwin edited Charles' books and wrote a biography of her mother. Three of Darwin's sons were knighted and elected Fellows of the Royal Society: Sir George Darwin was the world's expert on tides, Sir Francis Darwin developed the new field of plant physiology, and Sir Horace Darwin founded the world-class Cambridge Scientific Instrument Company. Major Leonard Darwin was a military man, Member of Parliament, and patron of early genetic research. This book, richly illustrated with photographs of the Darwin family, demonstrates the intellectual atmosphere whirling about the Darwin household, portrays loving family relationships, and explores entertaining vignettes from their lives.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Darwin & His Children offers glimpses into the home life of the man who revolutionized biology and natural history. Each Darwin child's life is told in a readable essay [The book]goes a long way toward showing the very human side of a man many see merely as a symbol, for good or ill." —Mansfield News Journal

"The picture that the book presents is of that of a functional, relaxed family that held together despite illnesses and despite the controversies that followed Darwin's publications. The book brings together much information not previously accessible; it shows Darwin, as well as all his other characteristics, to be a loving, concerned parent with talented children. It is a welcome addition to the considerable literature that relates to Darwin himself, his work and his contemporaries." —Dr. John Hayman, in Australian Family Physician

"Berra's book by design presents no new scholarship, relying on secondary sources. It is nevertheless unique in two ways: it brings together in a single volume a synopsis of the lives of the Darwin children and it provides a collective family portrait." —The Quarterly Review of Biology

"This book is small and well-written. It contains handy appendices and graphic material that make it a useful reference for anyone who wants to keep Darwin's timeline and numerous interactions clear." —Reports of the National Center for Science Education

"Berra captures the essence of the man as a generous loving human being. Berra's book is a well-researched effort that integrates details of Darwin's family life with comments on his scientific achievements and includes numerous photographs of members of the extended Darwin family....I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Anyone interested in the history of science or the history of the 19th and early 20th centuries will be well served by reading it." — Copeia

"The resulting book is a unique overview of the Darwin family, from his parents and grandparents, to his grandchildren and beyond. The book gives entries in birth order for all his children, with details of their marriages and deaths, photographic portraits as well as their role in their father's life-short narratives throw light on the role and career of each family member and their associates. Although compact in size, this will be an invaluable source book for anyone interested in Charles Darwin." — Editor, The Linnean.

"Charles Darwin has been the subject of innumerable biographies, but Tim Berra, Professor Emeritus of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University, has written something different in his book that cuts across three disciplines: the sciences, history of science, and biography. No other book combines the biographies of all ten children in a single volume. The book is thus an innovation and worthy of scrutiny. This book should find a multitude of audiences. We have observed it to be a contribution to the sciences, to history of science and to biography. The student of history of science should avidly read Darwin and His Children, particularly the first chapter. Darwin and His Children is well researched and well written. Berra has the ability to communicate complex ideas in simple prose. As the above suggests, I would recommend this monograph to anyone with an interest in the sciences, history of science, and biography." — The Ohio Journal of Science

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199309443
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
08/19/2013
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)

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Meet the Author

Tim M. Berra is Professor Emeritus of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology at The Ohio State University, and University Professorial Fellow at Charles Darwin University in Australia. He is the author of six previous books on evolution and biology, including Charles Darwin: The Concise Story of an Extraordinary Man. He is a three-time recipient of Fulbright Fellowships to Australia.

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