The New York Times
Darwin's Armada: Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolutionby Iain McCalman
"Sparkling . . . an extraordinary true-adventure story, complete with trials, tribulations and moments of exultation."—Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewAward-winning cultural historian Iain McCalman tells the stories of Charles Darwin and his staunchest supporters: Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace. Beginning with the somber morning/p>/em>
"Sparkling . . . an extraordinary true-adventure story, complete with trials, tribulations and moments of exultation."—Kirkus Reviews, starred reviewAward-winning cultural historian Iain McCalman tells the stories of Charles Darwin and his staunchest supporters: Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace. Beginning with the somber morning of April 26, 1882—the day of Darwin's funeral—Darwin's Armada steps back and recounts the lives and scientific discoveries of each of these explorers, who campaigned passionately in the war of ideas over evolution and advanced the scope of Darwin's work.
The New York Times
In delightful prose, University of Sydney historian McCalman tells the intertwined stories of Charles Darwin and three younger 19th-century explorers who came together to make the case for evolution and aid its relatively rapid acceptance around the world. The younger three were greatly influenced by Darwin's 1839 description of his travels on the Beagle and wanted to follow suit. McCalman devotes a section to the travels of each: Darwin on the Beagle; botanist Joseph Hooker's journeys around Australia and Antarctica; biologist Thomas Henry Huxley's excursions around Australia and New Guinea; and zoologist Alfred Russel Wallace's years in the Amazon and throughout Southeast Asia. Although there's little that hasn't been told previously, McCalman does a good job of detailing the hardships each suffered while also demonstrating the scientific growth each underwent and explaining how their shared experiences brought them together. Once Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, the other three became his biggest and most public supporters, and their tireless efforts changed Darwin's reputation from being "the Devil's Disciple" to one of England's most respected scientists. 16 pages of color illus.; maps. (Aug. 17)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Meet the Author
Iain McCalman is an award-winning professor at the , where he lives. He has served as president of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and director of the Humanities Research Centre at ANU. He lives in Sydney.
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This book recounts the important voyages which shaped Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace and subsequently how these men became important champions of Darwin's theory of organic evolution. McCalman writes well summarizing the historical details and experiences that shaped their lives and thoughts and ultimately brought them into deep friendship. A book not to be put down until the whole is read. Highly recommended.
Professor McCalman fills out the portrait of Darwin by exploring the voyages of discovery undertaken by the great man's "lieutenants." While Hooker, Huxley and Wallace were first-rate scientists in their own right, history remembers them primarily as defenders of Darwin's theory of natural selection. The personalities of each man emerge in McCalman's thoughtful and appreciative treatment. While Darwin indeed directed the post-1860 assault on the bastion of creationism, he served as a director of this fine group, not as a dictator. The reader is left with a more fulsome and nuanced picture of Darwin, as well as, new insight into the cultural and political aspects of science.