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A glimpse of Darwin's Archipelago

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of Steve Jones's The Darwin Archipelago: The Naturalist's Career Beyond Origin of Species (Yale University Press, 2011). The preview consists of the first two pages of each of the nine chapters — "The Queen's Orang-Utan," "The Green Tyrannosaurs," "Shock and Awe," "The Triumph of the Well Bred," "The Domestic Ape," "The Thinking Plant," "A Perfect Fowl," "Where the Bee Sniffs," and "The Worms Crawl In" — and thus conveys a sense of how Jones approaches his task of exploring and updating the more obscure works in Darwin's oeuvre, from The Various Contrivances by which Orchids are Fertilised by Insects to The Formation of Vegetable Mould, through the Action of Worms.

The publisher writes, "Charles Darwin is of course best known for The Voyage of the Beagle and The Origin of Species. But he produced many other books over his long career, exploring specific aspects of the theory of evolution by natural selection in greater depth. The eminent evolutionary biologist Steve Jones uses these lesser-known works as springboards to examine how their essential ideas have generated whole fields of modern biology. ... Through this delightful introduction to Darwin's oeuvre, one begins to see Darwin's role in biology as resembling Einstein's in physics: he didn't have one brilliant idea but many and in fact made some seminal contribution to practically every field of evolutionary study."