You are here

The Malay Archipelago

by Alfred Russel Wallace
Singapore: Periplus, 2008. 512 pages.

Not only the codiscoverer of evolution through natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace was also the father of the discipline of biogeography, discovering the Wallace Line separating the ecozones of Asia and (what is now called) Wallacea. The Malay Archipelago, published originally in 1869, was one of the most popular journals of scientific exploration of the nineteenth century, praised by Charles Darwin, Charles Lyell, and even the novelist Joseph Conrad (who called it his “favorite bedside companion”).

Darwin's Armada

by Iain McCalman
New York: W. W. Norton, 2009. 423 pages.

Subtitled Four Voyages and the Battle for the Theory of Evolution, McCalman’s book describes the nineteenth-century ocean journeys of Charles Darwin, Joseph Hooker, Thomas Henry Huxley, and Alfred Russel Wallace, and explains their importance and relevance to the nascent science of evolution.

Nature Revealed: Selected Writings, 1949-2006

by E. O. Wilson
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006. 719 pages.

A wide-ranging collection of Wilson’s writing throughout his career, Nature Revealed contains sixty-one articles on ants and sociobiology, biodiversity studies (systematics and biogeography), and conservation and the human condition, plus a bibliography of his published work. “The papers collected here,” Wilson explains in his preface, “are those subjects to which ants and my boyhood passions led me.

The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial

by Peter Goodchild
Los Angeles: L.A. Theater Works, 2001. (Audio cassette.)

Based on the original trial transcripts from the Scopes trial, this recording of the radio drama The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial features a bravura performance by Edward Asner as William Jennings Bryan. A reviewer for the Wall Street Journal commented, "the trial itself is heard as it happened, and is all the more dramatic for being true. ... while I doubt it'll change many minds in Harrisburg [where the trial in Kitzmiller v. Dover was then being conducted], or anywhere else, it still makes for a thought-provoking show."

History, Humanity and Evolution: Essays for John C. Greene

edited by James R. Moore
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 444 pages.

A collection of essays in honor of the eminent historian of science John C. Greene, History, Humanity, and Evolution includes essays by Roy Porter on Erasmus Darwin, Adrian Desmond on Lamarckism and democracy, Jim Secord on Robert Chambers and Vestiges of Creation, Martin Rudwick on nineteenth-century visual representations of the deep past, Peter J. Bowler on degeneration and orthogenesis in theories of human evolution, and John R. Durant on Darwinian religion in the twentieth century.

The Darwin Legend

by James R. Moore
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 1994. 218 pages.

Did Darwin recant evolution on his deathbed, telling Lady Hope, "How I wish I had not expressed my theory of evolution as I have done"? No — yet the legend continues to circulate among creationists. In his monograph, Moore judiciously assessed the evidence for the story and pondered its significance, arguing that it is important to understand Darwin and his religious development on their own terms.

Charles Darwin

by Adrian Desmond, Janet Browne, and James Moore
New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. 136 pages.

A slender but authoritative biography of Darwin, written by three of the top Darwin scholars working today, based on the biographical entry from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and published in Oxford University Press's Very Interesting People series. "Having almost a hundred years of Darwin-related research between the three of us, we have managed the unwieldy subject by triangulating between different sides," the authors explain.

Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent

by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
New York: Little, Brown, 2006. 288 pages.

Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent interweaves a biographical sketch of Darwin that emphasizes his ornithological work together with extensive personal details from Haupt's own experience in the field, with birds, and in the conservation movement. Reviewing the book for RNCSE, Paul Lawrence Farber wrote, "Darwin's humanity, humility, and observational acuity emerge in her telling of his life seen through the lens of his interest in birds.

Taking Wing

by Pat Shipman
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. 336 pages.

From the publisher: "In 1861, just a few years after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, a scientist named Hermann von Meyer made an amazing discovery. Hidden in the Bavarian region of Germany was a fossil skeleton so exquisitely preserved that its wings and feathers were as obvious as its reptilian jaws and tail. This transitional creature offered tangible proof of Darwin's theory of evolution. Hailed as the First Bird, Archaeopteryx has remained the subject of heated debates for the last 140 years.

Ornithology, Evolution, and Philosophy: The Life and Science of Ernst Mayr 1904-2005

by Jürgen Haffer
New York: Springer, 2007. 474 pages.

As Jürgen Haffer's title suggests, the late Ernst Mayr — a member of NCSE — was a towering figure in several fields, including ornithology. (He coauthored a book on the birds of northern Melanesia in 2001 — at the age of 97!) Reviewing Ornithology, Evolution, and Philosophy for a recent issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach, Ulrich Kutschera wrote, "After reading Haffer's comprehensive biography, we have to conclude that Ernst Mayr may be regarded as the 'Einstein of the modern life sciences.' This first biography ...


Subscribe to History of Science