General Evolution

Anarchy Evolution

by Greg Graffin and Steve Olson
New York: HarperCollins, 2010. 304 pages.

In Anarchy Evolution, Graffin, a punk rock star and a biologist, “presents his own naturalistic worldview in semi-autobiographical form” along with explanations of evolution, reviewer Richard P. Meisel explains. “Each component is compelling in its own right but the connections among these elements often come off as contrived.” While the treatment of evolution was for the most part solid, Meisel thinks that Anarchy Evolution will primarily appeal to fans of punk rock.

Arguing for Evolution: An Encyclopedia for Understanding Science

by Sehoya Cotner and Randy Moore
Santa Barbara (CA): ABC-Clio, 2011. 318 pages. Arguing for Evolution

Arguing for Evolution is the latest addition to an increasing number of books written to provide a view of contemporary evolutionary biology for the educated layperson … organized around chapters covering the scientific status of evolution, the age of the earth, fossils, biogeography, molecular and anatomical evidence of evolution, behavior, coevolution, and human evolution,” explains reviewer Erik Scully.

The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution

by Carl Zimmer
Greenwood Village (CO): Roberts and Company, 2010. 394 pages.

Reviewer Steve Rissing describes the writing of The Tangled Bank as “clear, concise, and very user-friendly,” its science as “remarkably current and complete” and its art as “fantastic [and] surprisingly ample and effectively colorful.”

Convergent Evolution: Limited Forms Most Beautiful

by George R. McGhee
Cambridge (MA): MIT Press, 2011. 321 pages.

Reviewer Kevin Padian praises Convergent Evolution as “a great compendium of information (there are dozens of tables in the book laying out examples of functional and ecological convergence in a huge range of animals, plants, ecosystems, and molecules)” and as “well written and a really stimulating read for graduates and undergraduates alike,” adding, “A whole lot of term papers will find inspiration in this book.”

Evolution: A View from the 21st Century

by James A. Shapiro
Upper Saddle River (NJ): FT Press Science, 2011. 253 pages.

“The main theme,” writes reviewer Laurence A. Moran, “is that discoveries in molecular biology and genomics have caused us to rethink our understanding of evolution in the 21st century.” Moran faults Shapiro for failing to provide adequate historical context, for caricaturing the positions he attacks, and for misunderstanding the Central Dogma of Molecular Biology.

The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization

by Geerat Vermeij
New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2010. 336 pages.

Reviewer Joseph S. Levine writes that The Evolutionary World is filled “with delights for the mind ranging from astute observations of morphological minutiae to intriguing hypotheses and syntheses—all selected to show how an evolutionary perspective can yield ‘an emotionally satisfying, aesthetically pleasing, and deeply meaningful worldview in which the human condition is bathed in a new light.’

SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed

by Martin A. Nowak with Roger Highfield
New York: Free Press, 2011. 330 pages.

Reviewer E. G. Leigh Jr. describes SuperCooperators as “a must for evolution teachers”: “It emphasizes human cooperation more than the wonders of nature, but in today’s world, that emphasis may make it a more effective teaching tool.

Evolution, Development, and the Predictable Genome

by David L. Stern
Greenwood Village [CO]: Roberts & Company, 2011. 288 pages.

“In Evolution, Development, and the Predictable Genome, David L. Stern highlights recent path-breaking work in evolutionary developmental biology and experimental evolution, and makes the case for integrating population genetics and developmental biology,” writes reviewer David Leaf.

Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating

by Leslie Brunetta and Catherine L. Craig
New Haven [CT]: Yale University Press, 2010. 248 pages.

Reviewer Joe Lapp writes, “Spider Silk is written for the layperson. It requires no advanced knowledge of spiders, biology, or evolution. It strives to provide all the background a reader might need.

Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us about Development and Evolution

by Mark S. Blumberg
New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. 352 pages.

The purpose of Freaks of Nature, writes reviewer Paul R. Gross, is “to present insights from evolutionary developmental biology …