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The Darwin Archipelago

The Naturalist's Career Beyond Origin of Species

Steve Jones


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A brilliant survey of the great evolutionist's lesser-known works, and how they anticipated so much of modern biology

Charles Darwin is of course best known for The Voyage of the Beagle and The Origin of Species. But he produced many other books over his long career, exploring specific aspects of the theory of evolution by natural selection in greater depth. The eminent evolutionary biologist Steve Jones uses these lesser-known works as springboards to examine how their essential ideas have generated whole fields of modern biology.

Earthworms helped found modern soil science, Expression of the Emotions helped found comparative psychology, and Self-Fertilization and Forms of Flowers were important early works on the origin of sex. Through this delightful introduction to Darwin's oeuvre, one begins to see Darwin's role in biology as resembling Einstein's in physics: he didn't have one brilliant idea but many and in fact made some seminal contribution to practically every field of evolutionary study. Though these lesser-known works may seem disconnected, Jones points out that they all share a common theme: the power of small means over time to produce gigantic ends. Called a "world of wonders" by the Times of London, The Darwin Archipelago will expand any reader's view of Darwin's genius and will demonstrate how all of biology, like life itself, descends from a common ancestor.

Praise For The Darwin Archipelago: The Naturalist's Career Beyond Origin of Species

"Completely enthralling." – Ray Olson, Booklist
— Ray Olson

“Jones's ability to dissect complex ideas with verve and wit creates an absorbing and unusually entertaining look at the sweep of Darwin's vision.”—Publisher’s Weekly
— Publisher's Weekly

"[Jones] is skilled at making the science go down easily."— Robert J. Richards, The American Scientist
— Robert J. Richards

“As Jones accumulates his evidence, the vision of the relatedness of all life becomes more and more breathtaking. I have never read a book that made me gasp with amazement so often.”—The Times

— The Times

"This work holds much appeal for scientists as well as nonscientists. . . . Recommendend." — J.S. Schwartz, Choice
— J.S. Schwartz

"A dazzling post-Darwin performance. . .you’ll find this book very much worth your time." — Steve Donoghue, Open Letters Monthly
— Steve Donoghue

"...if you want to spend a few hours, as it were in the pub listening to an old warhorse using Darwin as an excuse to tell about the science he knows and loves, you should get this book." —Michael Ruse, The Quarterly Review of Biology
— Michael Ruse

Yale University Press, 9780300181586, 248pp.

Publication Date: April 17, 2012

About the Author

Steve Jones is professor of genetics at University College London. He lives in London.