Charles Darwin’s masterpiece, The Origin of Species, is probably the best-known, least-read book. Unquestionably one of the most important achievements of the millennium, its publication in 1859 caused a sensation, because it forced mankind to see itself as part of the animal world–a notion that hundreds of millions still deny. Darwin’s theory of common descent did for biology what Galileo did for astronomy: made it into a single science rather than a collection of unrelated facts. Those facts, however, are now a century and a half old, as are The Origin‘s illustrative examples and Victorian prose style. Writing as “Darwin’s ghost,” the well-known geneticist Steve Jones has drawn on our ever-expanding scientific knowledge and the brilliant logic set out in The Origin to restate evolution’s case for the twenty-first century.
Jones has been called “the British Carl Sagan” because of his prominence as a popularizer of science. Using contemporary examples–the AIDS virus, the rules of the American Kennel Club, the sheep who never forget a face and the garbage that floats in the Pacific–he shows the power and immediacy of Darwin’s great argument. Filled with anecdotes, humor and the very latest research, Darwin’s Ghost is a popular, readable and comprehensive account of the science that makes life make sense.
For anyone interested in biology and evolution Darwin’s Ghost is a must read and very readable.
I borrowed this review from BookBrowes.