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The Voyage of the Beagle

by Charles Darwin, preface by Steve Jones
New York: Modern Library, 2001. 496 pages.

Both as a scientific document and as a travelogue, The Voyage of the Beagle continues to fascinate and delight its readers. The new Modern Library edition contains a preface by the geneticist Steve Jones, author of Darwin's Ghost, who justly describes The Voyage of the Beagle as "the overture to Darwin's career and to the biology of today ...

Charles Darwin: Evolution of a Naturalist

by Richard Milner
New York: Facts on File, Inc., 1994. 158 pages.

In Milner's own words, from the Amazon.com page for his book: "Supposedly for young adults, the book is written at a level everyone can enjoy — Jim Moore, historian of science, calls it '[the] best short biography of Darwin in existence.' (Moore wrote the best long one, with Adrian Desmond.) Yes, I am the same Richard Milner who performs the musical show "Charles Darwin: Live & In Concert" at museums, universities, and cultural institutions all over the world. You may also know my book The Encyclopedia of Evolution: Humanity's Search for Its Origins."

Charles Darwin: The Man and His Influence

by Peter J. Bowler
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996. 264 pages.

In the first chapter, Bowler explains that "What follows is not a biography in the conventional sense, although obviously I shall try to present an outline of what Darwin did and said.

Charles Darwin: Voyaging

by Janet Browne
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996. 632 pages.

Charles Darwin: Voyaging is the first volume of Janet Browne's acclaimed biography of Darwin, followed by Charles Darwin: The Power of Place. Reviewing it for Newsday, Ernst Mayr wrote, "There is no better chronicle of Darwin as human being, friend, and indefatigable scientist, nor anywhere a richer description of his milieu, his family life, his social circle, and his scientific connections. Browne's extraordinary knowledge of the literature of the period makes her account particularly insightful.... [A] masterpiece....

The Autobiography of Charles Darwin

by Charles Darwin, edited by Nora Barlow
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1993. 253 pages.

Written for his children and their children, Darwin's autobiography is direct, personal, quirky, and compelling — a must read. On the appearance of the unbowdlerized edition of Darwin's autobiography, Loren Eiseley wrote, "No man can pretend to know Darwin who does not know his autobiography. Here, for the first time since his death, it is presented complete and unexpurgated, as it exists in the family archives. It will prove invaluable to biographers and cast new light on the personality of one of the world's greatest scientists.

Charles Darwin's Letters: A Selection, 1825-1859

edited by Frederick Burkhardt
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 279 pages.

Frederick Burkhardt, coeditor of the complete edition of Darwin's collected correspondence, was obviously in the ideal position to choose just the right letters to provide unparalleled insight into the thoughts and adventures of the young naturalist whose work was to revolutionize science. The judicious selection of letters in Burkhardt's volume takes the reader from Darwin's university days in Edinburgh through the eventful voyage of the Beagle to the publication of the Origin in 1859.

The Monk in the Garden

by Robin Marantz Henig
Boston: Mariner Books, 2001. 304 pages.

From the publisher: "The perplexing silence that greeted Mendel's discovery and his ultimate canonization as the father of genetics make up a tale of intrigue, jealousy, and a healthy dose of bad timing. Telling the story as it has never been told before, Robin Henig crafts a suspenseful, elegant, and richly detailed narrative that fully evokes Mendel's life and work and the fate of his ideas as they made their perilous way toward the light of day.

A Feeling for the Organism

by Evelyn Fox Keller
San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1983. 235 pages.

A scant five months after the original publication of Keller's biography in 1983, McClintock won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of mobile genetic elements — transposons, or "jumping genes". As Rollin Hotchkiss writes in the foreword, "Keller's calm recital of how McClintock faced professional gender hurdles and prejudices is factual reportage that can give every reader, male or female, a vicarious experience of these problems.

Sewall Wright and Evolutionary Biology

by William B. Provine
Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1989. 562 pages.

In Sewall Wright and Evolutionary Biology, William B Provine offers a massive (545 pages) biography of and testament to the work of Sewall Wright, who, together with R. A. Fisher and J. B. S. Haldane, founded modern theoretical population genetics. Provine's book was praised by Stephen Jay Gould, writing in Isis, as "the finest intellectual biography available for any twentieth-century evolutionist. In its wealth of detail and richness of insight it has established a standard for historical work in this field." Several of Wright's seminal papers are included.

The Double Helix

by James D. Watson
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1980. 298 pages.

Originally published in 1968, Watson's classic personal account of the discovery of the structure of DNA continues to infuriate, titillate, and inspire its readers. The Norton Critical Edition, edited by Gunther Stent, includes reproductions of the original 1953 and 1954 papers describing the double helical structure of DNA, retrospectives from Francis Crick and Linus Pauling, and reviews of The Double Helix by a variety of authors, including Richard C. Lewonton, Peter M. Medawar, Robert K. Merton, and Philip Morrison.

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