History of Science

Summer for the Gods

by Edward J. Larson
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. 336 pages.

Edward J. Larson's Pulitzer–Prize-winning account of the events in Dayton, Tennessee, in the 1920s and their continuing impact on American life provides a historical perspective on the persistent conflict between creationism and science. Summer for the Gods is endorsed by such diverse readers as Phillip Johnson, Will Provine, and Ronald L.

The Scopes Trial: Defending the Right to Teach

by Arthur Blake
Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 1994. 64 pages.

The Scopes Trial was, at bottom, about what children ought to be taught in science class, so it is appropriate that Blake wrote his book specifically for children between 9 and 12, clearly and thoroughly describing the Scopes trial and its enduring significance for religion, education, and society. Contains photographs, bibliography, chronology, and index. Part of the Spotlight on American History series.

When All the Gods Trembled: Darwinism, Scopes, and American Intellectuals

by Paul K. Conkin
Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 1998. 208 pages.

The author of American Originals: Homemade Varieties of Christianity turns his attention to the impact of Darwin's theories on the intellectual scene of the 1920s. The Scopes trial is central, of course, but Conkin also discusses the reactions of intellectuals as diverse as the pastor Harry Emerson Fosdick, the philosopher John Dewey, and the poet John Crowe Ransom. Fellow historian Edward J Larson praises When All the Gods Trembled for its "keen insights into the historic fundamentalist-­modernist controversy and the ongoing debate over science and religion."

The World's Most Famous Court Trial; Tennessee Evolution Case

Union, NJ: The Lawbook Exchange, 1997. 339 pages.

The very first book on the subject of the Scopes trial contains, in the words of the title page, "[a] word-for-word report of the famous court test of the Tennessee anti-evolution act, at Dayton, July 10 to 21, 1925, including speeches and arguments of attorneys, testimony of noted scientists, and Bryan's last speech." Reprinted with additions from the original 1925 edition, the transcript, although expensive, is invaluable for anyone seriously interested in the Scopes trial.

Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist

by Adrian Desmond and James Moore
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1994. 808 pages.

Writing in Nature, Stephen Jay Gould describes Desmond and Moore's Darwin as "Unquestionably, the finest [biography] ever written about Darwin." A thoroughly scholarly work, Darwin nevertheless reads like a novel, which prompted Anthony Burgess to comment that "[Darwin's] story is told here with the right energy, irony and affection.

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.