Darwin: the Indelible Stamp: The Evolution of an Idea

Darwin: the Indelible Stamp: The Evolution of an Idea

by James D. Watson
     
 


These are the collected works of Charles Darwin, the man whose ideas shocked the 19th-century world-and whose works are still considered shocking by some today. Full reprints of On the Origin of Species, The Voyage of the Beagle, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, and The Descent of Man, have now been supplemented with…  See more details below

Overview


These are the collected works of Charles Darwin, the man whose ideas shocked the 19th-century world-and whose works are still considered shocking by some today. Full reprints of On the Origin of Species, The Voyage of the Beagle, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, and The Descent of Man, have now been supplemented with the crucial indices that will allow our volume to stand as the best value. Watson’s commentary seeks to “provide some historical context and connection to current science, as well as some personal observations about how Darwin’s writing affected (his) intellectual development” (Nature). Charles Darwin was training to be a clergyman when he undertook his famous voyage on the Beagle. On that journey, the islands and lagoons of South America became the cathedral where young Darwin explored the mysteries of life.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
To call the concurrent publication of these bulky twin volumes examples of parallel evolution would literally be incorrect in the Darwinian sense-but maybe not as it applies to the natural selection of the publishing marketplace. Imagine the synchronicity in the board rooms of two major publishers who decided, independently yet almost simultaneously, to commemorate Darwin's upcoming 200th birthday (in 2009) by repackaging his most important works in a single volume and inviting a major celebrity scientist to contribute running commentary, thus creating a keepsake that is both quaint and contemporary. All in time for the holidays! Commonalities make up the vast substance of each volume. Darwin's four major works, The Voyage of the Beagle, On the Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and The Expression of Emotion in Men and Animals, are all reproduced, although the absolute completeness of each version may be questioned. Introducing each volume and each of its four books, the guest scientist provides brief, cursory, sometimes perhaps mildly self-serving commentary; both are equally incriminated. Nobel laureate Watson's and Pulitzer Prize winner Wilson's unique narrative contributions to each volume can be read in half an hour, with precious little insight gained from either. Furthermore, neither textual volume should be regarded as unerringly faithful to the primary sources, as there are disparities between them. For example, Chapter 2 from The Descent of Man reads differently in each, and several illustrations are placed or numbered differently. Darwin's own footnotes are egregiously stripped from the text of the reading copy of Wilson's version. Even at these densities, some editorial discretion is evident in space allocation. However, sidebars note that selected content has been omitted from both reading copies, so no final verdict on the fidelity of either version is possible on the basis of this level of analysis. Regardless, these volumes appear to have negligible scholarly value. The publisher of Wilson's version promises a "creative new index" (not seen by reviewer) to accompany these four texts, one linking Darwin's terminology to modern times. Since Watson's book has no index, that might make a difference. Either way, the market for these books is individual buyers, not libraries. [For From So Simple a Beginning, see Prepub Alert, LJ 7/05.]-Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY Albany Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780762430512
Publisher:
Running Press Book Publishers
Publication date:
09/03/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
1280
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.70(h) x 2.10(d)

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Meet the Author


James D. Watson received the Nobel Prize in 1962 for determining the structure of DNA, the building blocks of life. As a fellow pioneer and explorer of the most fundamental riddles about the nature of life, he has a lot in common with Charles Darwin.

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