The authors bring to life Darwin’s reckless student days in Cambridge, his epic five-year voyage on the Beagle, and his grueling struggle to develop his theory of . Darwin: The life of a tormented evolutionist. By Adrian Desmond and James Moore. New York: Warner Books. pp. ISBN 0‐‐‐2. $35 (cloth ). As part of the celebration of Darwin’s bicentenary, we invite you to join us reading what is considered by many to be the definitive biography.

Author: Nilkree Kagagami
Country: Reunion
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Music
Published (Last): 3 June 2007
Pages: 326
PDF File Size: 10.94 Mb
ePub File Size: 7.99 Mb
ISBN: 167-1-78688-202-3
Downloads: 88934
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Shajinn

The other is to make those enigmas less mysterious by relating them to his social and political environment. Their method fits their fo On the whole the book is a marvellous success, though its richness causes it to raise new enigmas as well as settling old ones.

What is the main enigma?

And what is the main explanation, offered by this book? It contains remarkably little analysis of its subject matter.

Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist by Adrian J. Desmond

Except for the introduction, authorial comments are thin on the ground, either in the form of moral or intellectual judgments, generalizations, or scrutiny of secondary sources.

Sometimes this lack of analysis is the opposite of enlightening. For example, we never get a clear explanation of why Darwin, the gentle white-supremist, could upbraid his own son about the evils of slavery. We know that Darwin disagreed with Owen: The writing helps a lot here. In this story, events move swiftly on the back of snappy prose.

Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist

Instead of a portrait we get a gallery of sketches: Darwin the heartbroken father, the calculating suitor; the grumpy recluse, the jolly companion; the impressionable youth, the grand old genius; the hater of Owen, the magnanimous rival of Wallace; the brave man of science, going forward alone; the timid Darwin, hanging on the approval of friends.


Here are more enigmas. Desmond and Moore let them hang. If this is what the authors want us to grasp then the book is an outstanding success, even if it leaves evolktionist of the interpretative work in the hands of the reader.

Popular posts from this blog Quantum Space: There’s no doubt that X Baggott is one of the best popular science writers currently active. He specialises in taking really difficult topics and giving a more in-depth look at them than most of his peers. The majority of the time he achieves with a fluid writing style that remains easily readable, though inevitably there are some aspects that are difficult for the readers to get their heads around – and this is certainly true of his latest title Quantum Spacewhich takes on loop quantum gravity.

As Baggott points out, you could easily think that string theory was the only game in town when it comes to the ultimate challenge in physics, finding a way to unify the currently incompatible general theory of relativity and quantum theory.

Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist

Between them, these two behemoths of twentieth century physics underlie the vast bulk of physics very well tomrented but they simply can’t be put together. String theory and its big brother M-theory, which as Baggott points out, is not actually a the….

It would be easy to think ‘Surely we don’t need another book on quantum physics.

Don’t be fooled, though – because in Beyond WeirdPhilip Ball has done something rare in my experience until Quantum Sense and Nonsense came along. It makes an attempt not to describe quantum physics, but to explain why it darwih the way it is. Historically this has rarely happened.


It’s true that physicists have come up with various interpretations of quantum physics, but these are designed as technical mechanisms to bridge the gap between theory and the world as we see it, rather than explanations that would make sense to the ordinary reader.

Ball does not ignore the interpretations, though he clearly isn’t happy with any of them. He seems to come clo…. This is the latest of a series of ‘Everything You Know About Although I always feel slightly hard done by as a result of the assertion in the title, as there are certainly things here I know that aren’t wrong I mean, come on, the first corrected piece of ‘knowledge’ is that ‘The Earth is only 6, years old’ and I can’t imagine many readers will ‘know’ thatit’s a handy format to provide what are often surprisingly little snippets of information that are very handy for ‘did you know’ conversations down the pub or showing up your parents if you’re a younger reader.

Some of the incorrect statements that head each article are well-covered, thw often still believed for example, people thought that world was flat before Columbus yormented, some are a little tricksy in the wording such as seas have to wash up against land and some are just pleasantly surprising countering the idea that gold is a rar….