CHARLES DARWIN: The Making of a Scientist by Roy A. Gallant

CHARLES DARWIN: The Making of a Scientist

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Though it offers little that is new, this relaxed and intimate portrait of Darwin the man is a pleasing addition to the abundant biographical literature. Drawing heavily on Darwin's own writings, Gallant traces his intellectual development from reluctant student to amateur naturalist to theoretician and describes the prevailing intellectual climate (science was considered an appropriate avocation for clergymen) which caused better trained men to ignore the evidence of evolution. Darwin's ideas are introduced gradually as he himself developed them: his observations of Galapagos finches provide the occasion for an explanation of evolution; the light and dark-winged moths of Manchester demonstrate survival of the fittest. But the chief value lies in the sharp delineation of personalities, particularly with regard to the uneasy friendship of Darwin and Captain Fitzroy (men who embodied two contrasting aspects of the Victorian temper). The Horizon Charles Darwin and the Origin of the Species (1968) better elucidates the Darwinian theory, but Gallant makes the historical Darwin unusually accessible.

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 1971
Publisher: Doubleday