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Emma Darwin: A Victorian Life

by James D. Loy and Kent M. Loy
Gainesville (FL): University Press of Florida, 2010. 437 pages.

“This most recent biography of Emma Darwin is an old-fashioned ‘life’ in the best Victorian sense, both an uplifting portrait of Emma’s qualities and an entertaining window into a world gone by,” write reviewers Stanley A Rice and Lisette Rice. “Emma Darwin was herself interesting and admirable, not just as the wife of Charles Darwin.

The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness

by Oren Harman
New York: WW Norton, 2010. 464 pages.

“Anyone interested in evolutionary biology or the history of science will enjoy and appreciate this book,” writes reviewer Stephen Pruett-Jones, which provides a chronological treatment of the history of scientific thought about altruism and its evolution, “focusing primarily on George Price, but also detailing the lives and contributions of the other scientists contributing to the debate and theory about altruism.

The Science and Humanism of Stephen Jay Gould

by Richard York and Brett Clark
New York: Monthly Review Press, 2011. 223 pages.

Reviewer David F. Prindle praises York and Clark’s “cogent summaries of concepts and issues that must be understood if Gould’s thought is to be understood and appreciated,” but is in the end disappointed by their uncritical across-the-board agreement with Gould’s political and scientific views, writing, “the authors give us, not a judicious account of politics and science, but a propaganda tract written in elevated language. ...

Evolutionary Restraints: The Contentious History of Group Selection

by Mark E. Borrello
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010. 215 pages.

Concluding his review of Borrello’s history of group selection, E. G. Leigh Jr. summarizes: “Those acquainted with the group selection controversy might benefit from this book. I earned much of interest from it about various aspects of the controversy. On the other hand, it makes a poor introduction to the controversy, because it communicates a very inadequate understanding of why opponents of group selection were so sure that it could rarely be effective.

What about Darwin?

by Thomas F. Glick
Baltimore (MD): The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010. 520 pages.

“With over four hundred passages from authors ranging from Henry Adams ...

Written in Stone

by Brian Switek
New York: Bellevue Literary Press, 2010. 320 pages.

Reviewer Pat Shipman regards the individual chapters of Written in Stone as good, particularly the opening chapter on the overselling of Darwinius masillae: “For a student wanting to brush up quickly on, say, human or horse evolution, this book will be a treasure trove.” But she laments the lack of any overarching structure or theme to unify them.

Species, Serpents, Spirits, and Skulls

by Sherrie Lynne Lyons
Albany (NY): State University of New York Press, 2009. 245 pages.

Reviewer A. Bowdoin Van Riper explains, “Lyons’s concern is with subjects from the outer edges of Victorian science: sea serpents, phrenology, spiritualism, and the spiritual dimensions (if any) of human evolution.

Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origin of Species

by Sean B. Carroll
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009. 352 pages.

“This is a history of evolutionary ideas over the last two centuries illustrated by the lives and the achievements of diverse individuals, many familiar but others less so,” reviewer Aubrey Manning explains.

Natural Selection & Beyond: The Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace

edited by Charles H. Smith and George Beccaloni
New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. 482 pages.

Reviewer Sherrie Lyons describes Natural Selection & Beyond as “a valuable and welcome addition, elucidating the many different facets of this complicated and talented man.” The essays in the first part of the book consider Wallace as a field biologist and collector. The essays in the second part consider Wallace’s other interests, including his views on socialism, eugenics, and spiritualism.

Charles Darwin: After the Origin

by Sheila Ann Dean
Ithaca (NY): Paleontological Research Institution and Cornell University Library, 2009. 156 pages.

Dean’s book focuses on Darwin’s later years, and thus tells “a further story about Darwin’s accomplishments, some in quite esoteric fields (such as barnacles or earthworms and their effects in soils,” writes reviewer Sara B. Hoot.


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