Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

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by Stephen Jay Gould
     
 

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"[An] extraordinary book. . . . Mr. Gould is an exceptional combination of scientist and science writer. . . . He is thus exceptionally well placed to tell these stories, and he tells them with fervor and intelligence."—James Gleick, New York Times Book ReviewSee more details below

Overview

"[An] extraordinary book. . . . Mr. Gould is an exceptional combination of scientist and science writer. . . . He is thus exceptionally well placed to tell these stories, and he tells them with fervor and intelligence."—James Gleick, New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Walter C. Sweet - Science
“Gould at his best. . . . The message of history is superbly conveyed. . . . Recommended reading for scientists and nonscientists of all persuasions.”
Lewis Thomas
“Luminous. . . . Filled with profound and upsetting ideas like the Burgess Shale itself and just as solid. It is surely one of nature's best stories, told with a light touch by a master of the field.”
Richard A. Fortey - Nature
“There is no question about the historical importance of the Burgess Shale, and Gould is right when he says that it deserves a place in the public consciousness along with big bangs and black holes. . . . A compelling story, told with characteristic verve.”
James Gleick
Mr. Gould is an exceptional combination of scientist and science writer, one of America's foremost paleontologists and the author of many books on evolution and on scientific history. He is thus exceptionally well placed to tell these stories, and he tells them with fervor and intelligence. He attempts a rare thing in science writing: a book meant to hold the interest of both specialists and lay readers....Mr. Gould revels in both the big and the small, and he weaves his stories together well. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Burgess Shale, a small quarry in the mountains of British Columbia, opened a window on the first multicellular animals. Gould, eminent life-historian and author, introduces us to the creatures of Burgess Shale and to those who have painstakingly examined them. ``This is exciting and illuminating material on the beginnings of life,'' wrote PW. Illustrated. (Sept.)
Library Journal
The Burgess Shale, found in the Canadian Rockies, contains an extremely important fossil fauna that includes an assortment of weird and wonderful creatures. Gould, the best-known modern exponent of paleontology and evolutionary biology, interprets, with the wit and grace his many fans expect, the significance of this 530-million-year-old fauna. His arguments entail learning some anatomy of unfamiliar creatures, but Gould gently guides the way. The book does ramble some, but the asides are so fascinating! This book is much more theoretical than Harry B. Whittington's briefer and more matter-of-fact work, The Burgess Shale (Yale Univ. Pr., 1985), another good book on the topic. This is an intellectual delight, one of Gould's best recent books. It is highly recommended for the interested layperson, as well as for students from the college level on up. BOMC, History Book Club, and Quality Paperback selections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/89.-- Joseph Hannibal, Cleveland Museum of Natural History

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780393307009
Publisher:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/1990
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
308,118
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 10, 1941
Date of Death:
May 20, 2002
Place of Birth:
New York, New York
Place of Death:
Boston, Massachusetts
Education:
B.S., Antioch College, 1963; Ph.D., Columbia University, 1967

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