History of Science

The Neandertal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Modern Human Origins

by James Shreeve
New York: Avon Books, 1996. 369 pages.

Weaving together interviews with scientists, compelling descriptions of fossils and fossil sites, and a survey of the literature, James Shreeve offers a thought-provoking explanation of what caused the disappearance of humanity's closest relatives and the implications for what it means to be human.

Darwinism Comes to America

by Ronald L. Numbers
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. 224 pages.

In 6 fascinating essays, distinguished historian of science Ronald L Numbers explores the reception of Darwinism in the US. Eugenie C Scott, executive director of NCSE, writes, "Numbers's carefully researched study helps us understand the origin of the wide-ranging attitudes toward creation and evolution found among conservative Christians today. Darwinism Comes to America is a worthy successor to The Creationists."

Charles Darwin: A New Life

by John Bowlby
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1992. 511 pages.

A highly regarded biography described by Frank Sulloway as "perhaps an ideal introduction to Darwin's life and work for the nonspecialist". A psychologist by trade and the author of Attachment and Loss, Bowlby is particularly interested in Darwin's invalidism; he suggests that Darwin "developed a vulnerable personality as the result of a childhood shadowed by an invalid and dying mother and an unpredictable and often intimidating father, and that his symptoms can be understood as responses to stressful events and situations."

The Non-Darwinian Revolution: Reinterpreting a Historical Myth

by Peter J. Bowler
Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. 252 pages.

"Historians of biology," Bowler writes, "have ... tended to discuss the history of evolutionism as though it were essentially the history of Darwinism." But Darwinian theory, based on natural selection, was not the only mechanism offered during the 19th century to explain evolution. Bowler's readable but scholarly account takes the reader through the panoply of the evolutionary (but nonselectionist) ideas of such figures as Owen, Spencer, Kelvin, Huxley, Haeckel, and Freud.

The Scopes Trial: A Photographic History

by Edward Caudill, Edward Larson, and Jesse Fox Mayshark
Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 2000. 88 pages.

At last, the opportunity to see the persons and places of the greatest trial of the century! The backdrop and the repercussions of the Scopes trial are ably discussed by Edward Caudill and Jesse Fox Mayshark, respectively, but the heart of the book is its wealth of documentary photographs, annotated by Edward Larson, the author of the definitive history of the Scopes trial, Summer for the Gods.

The Story of My Life

by Clarence Darrow
New York: Da Capo Press, 1996. 508 pages.

Straight from the horse's mouth, the story of the most famous — and infamous — attorney of his day contains Darrow's own account of his involvement in the Scopes trial. "To me," Darrow wrote, "it was perfectly clear that the proceedings bore little semblance to a court case, but I realized that there was no limit to the mischief that might be accomplished unless the country was aroused to the evil at hand." Introduction by the Harvard law professor widely considered to be the Darrow of our day, Alan Dershowitz.

Defender of the Faith

by Lawrence W Levine
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987. 386 pages.

Although the remarkable public career of the Great Commoner attracted biographers aplenty, Levine's narrow focus on the last decade of Bryan's life makes his 1965 study especially helpful to those fascinated by the Scopes trial. "The Bryan of the 1920s was essentially the Bryan of the 1890s," Levine explains in his introduction: "older in years but no less vigorous, no less optimistic, no less certain."

Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom

by Arthur Weinberg
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. 552 pages.

Reprinted from the 1957 edition. "Clarence Darrow [was] perhaps the most effective courtroom opponent of cant, bigotry, and special privilege that our country has produced. All of Darrow's most celebrated pleas are here — in defense of Leopold and Loeb (1924), of Lieutenant Massie (1932), of Big Bill Haywood (1907), of [John] Thomas Scopes (1925), and of himself for attempted bribery," writes the reviewer for The New Yorker.

Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the Nineteen-Twenties

by Frederick Lewis Allen
New York: Harper Perennial, 2000. 352 pages.

Written by the editor of Harper's magazine in 1931, the still-in-print Only Yesterday recounts the events of the Roaring Twenties with verve and enthusiasm. "No one," according to the historian Roderick Nash, "has done more to shape the conception of the American 1920s than Frederick Lewis Allen." The Scopes trial, as the major news story of the summer of 1925, receives plenty of attention, although Edward J Larson complains that Allen "presented the trial in cartoonlike simplicity" and "perpetuated various misconceptions about events at Dayton."

Six Days or Forever? Tennessee v John Scopes

by Ray Ginger
New York: Oxford University Press, 1974. 270 pages.

The first authoritative historical treatment of the Scopes trial is still extraordinarily readable. Originally published in 1958, Six Days or Forever? is notable for its comparison of the 1925 cross-examination of Bryan and the 1954 Senate investigation of McCarthy; "if a person holds irrational ideas and insists that others should accept them because of their authoritative source," Ginger writes, "he should never agree to be questioned about them."