The Darwin Experience

The Darwin Experience Cover

The Darwin Experience

The Story of the Man and His Theory of Evolution

By John Van Wyhe

National Geographic Society, Hardcover, 9781426204739, 64pp.

Publication Date: October 20, 2009


Celebrating both the bicentennial of Charles Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the electrifying publication of On the Origin of Species, here’s the story of the man and the theory that opened a new chapter in the history of sciencetransformed into an engaging interactive experience that invites readers to unfold natural selection, evolution, and their challenging implications just as Darwin’s contemporaries did a century and a half ago.

The year 2009 will definitely be Darwin-centric, with major museum exhibitions, international symposiums, and much more, all scheduled to commemorate the double anniversary of a great scientist and the opening volleys of a controversy that still sparks debate and curiosity. Combining science, travel, culture, and history, this book is an elegant, richly illustrated volume that offers not just hundreds of full-color photographs but also a trove of removable facsimile documents that bring the subject alive.

These fascinatingly diverse memorabilia include letters, maps, photographs, sketches, newspaper articles, and more, providing telling glimpses of Darwin’s life as never before, from his early expedition aboard the Beagle to his meticulous, seemingly arcane research in the Galápagos Islands to the practical observations and theoretical conclusions that won him a pivotal place in the history of science.

About the Author
John van Wyhe is an historian of science. He is the founder and Director of Darwin Online ( - the largest edition of Darwin's publications and manuscripts ever published, and a Bye-Fellow of Christ's College, University of Cambridge (Darwin's own college). He recently led the restoration of Darwin's rooms at Christ's College. Van Wyhe's recent research has challenged the long-held view that Darwin held back or kept his theory secret for 20 years (Darwin's delay). Van Wyhe's books include Charles Darwin's Notebooks from the Voyage of the Beagle, with Gordon Chancellor and Kees Rookmaaker and a foreword by Richard Darwin Keynes (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Darwin in Cambridge (Cambridge, Christ's College, 2009), and Darwin (Andre Deutsch, 2008, and National Geographic, 2009).