Charles Darwin

      Janet Browne

Charles Darwin

In 1858 Charles Darwin was forty-nine years old, a gentleman scientist living quietly at Down House in the Kent countryside, respected by fellow biologists and well liked among his wide and distinguished circle of acquaintances. He was not yet a focus of debate; his "big book on species" still lay on his study desk in the form of a huge pile of manuscript. For more than twenty years he had been accumulating material for it, puzzling over questions it raised, trying--it seemed endlessly--to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion. Publication appeared to be as far away as ever, delayed by his inherent cautiousness and wish to be certain that his startling theory of evolution was correct.

It is at this point that the concluding volume of Janet Browne's biography opens. The much-praised first volume, Voyaging, carried Darwin's story through his youth and scientific apprenticeship, the adventurous Beagle voyage, his marriage and the birth of his children, the genesis and...

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    Darwin's Origin of Species

      Janet Browne

Darwin's Origin of Species

No book has changed our understanding of ourselves more than Darwin's Origin of Species. It caused a sensation on its first day of publication in 1859 and went on to become an international bestseller. The idea that living things gradually evolve through natural selection profoundly shocked its Victorian readers, calling into question what had been for many the unshakeable belief that there was a Creator. In this book, Janet Browne, Charles Darwin's foremost biographer, shows why Darwin's Origin of Species can fairly claim to be the greatest science book ever published. She describes the genesis of Darwin's theories, explains how they were initially received and examines why they remain so contentious today. Her book is a marvellously readable account of the work that altered forever our knowledge of what it is to be human.

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