A very readable, enjoyable book which takes an inside look at Charles Darwin and his lifelong efforts toward a theory of natural selection.
David Quammen is one of of my favourite National Geographic authors. He chooses to focus on Darwin after the voyage of the Beagle, providing a human, inside look at Charles Darwin; his insights, apprehensions, struggles to understand, anxieties, his good moments and dark moments. Through meticulous research, the author rebuilds what was going through Darwin's mind, both in his professional and personal life and he tells this story in an enjoyable way.
I was glad to have someone dispel the misconceptions surrounding Darwin and provide an accurate view of who he was and what he thought, with no other agenda. I also gained an appreciation for his attention to detail, voracious appetite for any helpful information, his ability to tie together widely dispersed facts, and most strikingly, his ingenious and relentless design of novel, interesting, accessible experiments. Near the end of the book, Quammen also takes us through a short step-by-step of Darwin's greatest works.
Given its size and clarity, I would suggest this book to the general reader interested in a biography of Darwin before delving into some of the excellent voluminous texts on the scientist (the best of which are recommended at the beginning of this book).
Also see David Quammen's article on Darwin in the February 2009 issue of National Geographic, and his article on Alfred Russel Wallace (co-discoverer of the Theory of Natural Selection) in the December 2008 issue....Continua