History of Science

Aristotle's Ladder, Darwin's Tree

by J. David Archibald

New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. 256 pages.

“This interesting and pleasantly written book takes readers on a journey through 2500 years of imagery related to the classification of life,” beginning with the Greeks and continuing to the present day, according to reviewer Erica Torrens. She concludes, “Aristotle’s Ladder, Darwin’s Tree will be intellectually stimulating for those interested in the history and philosophy of biology, and especially for those impressed by the importance of the visual for the construction of scientific knowledge.”

Wallace, Darwin, and the Origin of Species

by James T. Costa

Cambridge (MA): Harvard University Press, 2014. 331 pages.

Assessing Costa’s account of how Alfred Russel Wallace arrived at the idea of evolution through natural selection, reviewer Charles H.

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought

edited by Michael Ruse

New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. 568 pages.

Ruse’s encyclopedia, if expensive, offers “a clear survey of the state of contemporary scholarship” on Darwin and his thought, including “a thirty-page introduction by Ruse which details in broad strokes Darwin’s life, his ideas, and their influence,” writes reviewer John M. Lynch.

Darwin: Portrait of a Genius

by Paul Johnson

New York: Viking, 2012. 164 pages.

Johnson’s biography of Darwin not only is derivative and unexciting but also “says some strange things,” writes reviewer John M. Lynch.

America’s Darwin: Darwinian Theory and US Literary Culture

edited by Tina Gianquitto and Lydia Fisher

Athens (GA): University of Georgia Press, 2014. 400 pages.

According to reviewer Christoph Irmscher, America’s Darwin collects fourteen essays that chart, from different angles and with different methods, the ways in which American writers and scientists have tried to normalize Darwin’s heterodox vision and integrate it into the c

Darwin and His Children: His Other Legacy

by Tim M. Berra

New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. 248 pages.

“At first glance, the topic of the lives of Darwin’s children may seem esoteric and trivial and only of interest to a few Darwinophiles,” writes reviewer Sara B. Hoot. “But reconsider.

From Eve to Evolution: Darwin, Science, and Women’s Rights in Gilded Age America

by Kimberly A. Hamlin

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. 256 pages.

According to reviewer Tina Gianquitto, From Eve to Evolution is mandatory reading “[f]or anyone curious about the reception of evolutionary theory by women in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.” She explains that it “addresses a substantial void in our under

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.