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

Overview

"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...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.38
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$14.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (33) from $2.70   
  • New (10) from $8.78   
  • Used (23) from $2.70   
The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution (Great Discoveries)

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 29%)$14.95 List Price

Overview

"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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
It was perhaps science's most meticulously constructed revolution. Charles Darwin first conceived of natural selection in March 1838; but two decades would pass before he began working in earnest on The Origin of Species. In this long interim, he tested, retested, modified, and sharpened his epoch-making theory of evolution. David Quamman's brief (45,000-word) biography of Darwin describes how this reluctant radical created an intellectual revolution at his own pace.
Library Journal - Booksmack!
Darwin is so frequently mentioned in Bryson's book he seems to inhabit the pages. If your curiosity has been raised, consider Quammen's stunning and lively account of Darwin after he arrived home from the Galápagos Islands. The central question facing Darwin after the voyage on the Beagle was how to explain and when to publish his world-altering theory. The when part was settled by the danger of being overtaken, but the how part is Quammen's great achievement. He offers a splendid summation of On the Origin of Species, making this foundational text of the scientific world accessible to all (not that Darwin himself was opaque). Quammen has also published a very nice illustrated edition of On the Origin of Species, filled with letters, maps, diagrams, and images. Neal Wyatt, "RA Crossroads", Booksmack!, 12/2/10
Publishers Weekly
It's easy to hear why PW named Grover Gardner Narrator of the Year in '05. He uses inflection, stress, rhythm and his rich vocal range to create an easy and often amusing conversational style. This is particularly appropriate for the modern idiom that makes Quammen's book so lively and readable. (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 and Charles would not be united in heaven. Quammen explains that the synthesis of Darwin's theory of evolution and Gregor Mendel's genetic discoveries was essential to establish what now underpins all modern science. This short, highly readable book is as valuable as it is timely. Simultaneous release with the Norton hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 17). (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Everyone knows "Darwin's" Theory of Evolution. Fewer people know that although Darwin worked on his theory for 20 years, Alfred Russel Wallace independently wrote up his own version first, or that Darwin's powerful friends manipulated circumstances so that his name was attached to a "joint publication." Darwin was an explorer who became a recluse, a trained clergyman who became an atheist, and a scientific amateur who trained himself to be a methodical, dedicated researcher. Most important, Darwin was a timid man with a very bold theory. In Reluctant Mr. Darwin, Quammen examines not only the odd life of a great scientist but the 19th-century biological research establishment to which he belonged. Writing for the scientific novice, the author clearly explains difficult concepts, such as natural selection, mutation, and various versions of evolutionary theory. Although at times Quammen writes as though he was actually channeling Darwin's mind, his conclusions are usually plausible. Grover Gardner is a first-rate reader who seems genuinely to enjoy recounting the foibles of Darwin's life. An excellent general audience title; recommended for all public, academic, and secondary school collections.-I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A first-rate look at the English naturalist's career after the Beagle; part of the Atlas Books Great Discoveries Series. Quammen (Monster of God, 2003, etc.) focuses on how Darwin arrived at his theory of evolution by natural selection. In 1836, arriving home from his voyage, he essentially had all the key facts of evolution; but it was more than 20 years before he published The Origin of Species. One factor was a mysterious stomach ailment, possibly tropical disease, possibly nerves, that dogged him for most of his remaining life. A second was the business of finding a wife and starting a family, a process that ended with him happily married to cousin Emma Wedgwood. That was a fortuitous match, despite her strong religious beliefs (Darwin was already well down the road to agnosticism); their fathers pitched in enough to support the newlyweds, with enough left over to reinvest. But a fair amount of time went to scientific work, especially Darwin's eight-year project of classifying barnacles, which gave him, in his own mind, a solid credential to back up the theory he knew was bound to be controversial. But even with that work out of the way, he dragged his feet. He was finally roused by the arrival on his doorstep of a manuscript by Alfred Russel Wallace, in which the central elements of his theory were unambiguously spelled out. At that point, it was publish or give up his priority. Quammen gives a broad-brush account of the book's composition and its reception; of the developments in evolutionary theory since Darwin's initial formulation; and of the scientist's final years. While much of this material has been covered in recent full-length biographies, Quammen's portrait of the greatman and his magnum opus is affectionate and well-paced.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393329957
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/30/2007
  • Series: Great Discoveries
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 226,754
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Home and Dry: an introduction     11
The Fabric Falls: 1837-1839     20
The Kiwi's Egg: 1842-1844     52
Point of Attachment: 1846-1851     84
A Duck for Mr. Darwin: 1848-1857     122
His Abominable Volume: 1858-1859     153
The Fittest Idea: 1860 to the future     205
The Last Beetle: 1876-1882     235
Source Notes     255
Bibliography     271
Acknowledgments     285
Index     289
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 5 of 4 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)