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Nature’s Oracle: The Life and Work of W. D. Hamilton

by Ullica Segerstrale

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 336 pages.

Describing it as “highly readable,” reviewer Marlene Zuk praises Segerstrale’s biography of “probably the most famous evolutionary biologist you have never heard of,” appreciating the details about Hamilton’s personal life and his theories, “though the intricacies of the latter can be difficult to follow from someone without a background in biology.” “[A]lthough she sometimes comes close, Segerstrale never falls into the trap of assuming that any characteristic of Hamilton’s was necessarily a herald, or an essential

Charles R Knight: The Artist Who Saw Through Time

by Richard Milner

New York: Abrams, 2012. 180 pages.

“Even as new discoveries about dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals, and other creatures make some of Knight’s illustrations seem dated, his paintings still carry the reflection of someone who joyfully reveled in the story of life,” writes reviewer Brian Switek. “Milner’s bound galley is a fitting sampling of Knight’s life and work, itself a time capsule that records scenes of history, science, and art from some of the most epochal moments of American paleontology.”

The Evolving God

by J David Pleins

New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. 171 pages.

“This is a marvelous book on Darwin and religion,” writes reviewer Keith Stewart Thomson. “It repeats much that is already familiar, including the progressive loss of faith that is laid out in the Autobiography and letters. And it contains much that readers will find new because, if it is true that few people read On the Origin of Species seriously for content, even fewer delve deeply into The Descent of Man.” Thomson praises the “wonderful details” of Pleins’s account.

Darwin Deleted: Imagining a World without Darwin

by Peter J Bowler

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 318 pages.

Darwin Deleted, writes reviewer William Kimler, “is a fully fleshed imagining of the type of evolutionary theory that might have developed had Darwin not lived,” which “gives us a brilliant scholar, fully in command of his material, enjoying himself in thinking through what might otherwise have been by constructing a counterfactual history.” “[A]nyone who has read a biography of Darwin or followed the controversies over evolution will find a graceful, cogent discussion full of small gems and larger lessons.”

Once We All Had Gills

by Rudolf A Raff

Bloomington (IN): Indiana University Press, 2012. 354 pages.

According to reviewer Scott F Gilbert, “it is well worth while to read this book for many reasons. One is to read of a life, a life in science, well lived. But this is not only an autobiography of Rudolf Raff; it is a biography of contemporary embryology and how it, too, has changed during the past half-century. Moreover, this is a book about natural history as path to science.”

The Life of David Lack

by Ted Anderson

Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. 256 pages.

Although Ted R Anderson’s “short book is packed with interesting detail,” reviewer Paul Lawrence Farber concludes, “the biography suffers from its close focus on Lack’s writings and personal life at the expense of looking at the broader intellectual and institutional context of his work. Nonetheless, The Life of David Lack is a welcome addition to the literature on the history of evolution, and it will be of interest to all of those who teach about evolution in their classes.”

Looking for a Few Good Males

by Erika Lorraine Milam

Baltimore (MD): The John Hopkins University Press, 2010. 236 pages.

Looking for a Few Good Males provides a historical survey, essentially limited to the twentieth century, of concepts and research concerning biological issues of female reproductive choices,” reviewer Lee Ehrman explains. Especially valuable in her view are “a chronological record of experiments into sexual selection—described, documented, and interpreted as nowhere else. These chapters ... span American, British, and French-American collaborations ... .

Charles Darwin: A Celebration of His Life and Legacy

edited by James T Bradley with Jay Lamar

Montgomery (AL): NewSouth Books, 2013. 253 pages.

The product of Auburn University’s celebration of the Darwin anniversaries in 2009, “this anthology would be of interest to anyone wishing to gain a grasp of the impact of Darwin on the disciplines discussed in these essays, and anyone seeking lucidity regarding the theory of organic evolution,” writes reviewer Carol Anelli, who particularly liked the contributions by Richard Dawkins; Kelly A Schmidtke, John F Magnotti, Anthony A Wright, and Jeff Katz; Anthony Moss; and James T Bradley.

Darwin: A Graphic Biography

by Eugene Byrne and Simon Gurr

Washington (DC): Smithsonian Books, 2013. 100 pages.

Reviewer Daniel J. Glass writes, "Darwin: A Graphic Biography ... is, as its name suggests, a biography of the renowned scientist in graphic novel form, and it can be confidently added to the burgeoning library of such works that can be of great benefit to grade school classrooms learning about science and science history.

Rereading the Fossil Record: The Growth of Paleobiology as an Evolutionary Discipline

by David Sepkoski

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. 432 pages.

“David Sepkoski’s book is the one book that anyone interested in evolution should buy this year,” writes reviewer Kevin Padian. “The reason is that, for the first time, the emergence of the modern science of macroevolution receives its due.  … [I]n a very few years, probably from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, the science of the past experienced a complete revolution, and the questions that were opened and tested are the same ones that are being tested today.


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