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The Origin of Species (Mentor) by Charles…

The Origin of Species (Mentor) (original 1859; edition 1986)

by Charles Darwin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,34563372 (4.14)1 / 283
Title:The Origin of Species (Mentor)
Authors:Charles Darwin
Info:Signet (1986), Paperback, 1 pages
Collections:Your library

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On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (1859)


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Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
Volume 811 of Everyman's Library with dustcover intact.
  C.J.J.Anderson | Jun 9, 2014 |
In the past month I read three books that specifically mention Origin of the Species (including At Home and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.) I felt like I was being strongly nudged to check it out even though it’s a bit intimidating. I like reading classics that are influential pieces of our culture. I want to understand the background of books that are constantly being referenced and I want to have a working knowledge of them. So for those reason I'm glad I read it, but Darwin was no Mary Roach or Bill Bryson. He is a scientist, but writing an enthralling account of his research is not in his wheelhouse.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been so bored reading a book before in my life. I’m talking mind-numbingly bored. Maybe that’s not fair, this isn’t a detective novel that’s supposed to speed along, but honestly I could hardly stand it. I listened to an audio version, which was read by David Case and that might have been part of the problem. I can’t stand his narration and he already ruined The Hunchback of Notre Dame for me.

I do understand that this isn't a novel and it wasn't written to be entertaining, but I've read so many other nonfiction books that I loved. I'm not talking about the points he makes or what he's trying to prove, I'm talking only about the readability of the material. It was really hard for me to stay interested.

BOTTOM LINE: Science is not my passion and I will never claim to be an expert in biology, but regardless this one was just not for me. It was like reading the driest of lab reports. I’m glad I read the work that is said to be the basis for evolutionary theory, but unless you love that subject I can’t say I’d recommend it.

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

**Funny side note, I listened to this as an audiobook on CDs. In the middle of the 10th disc the narrator said, “This is the end of side A, please turn the cassette over and continue listening on side B.” Then a few second later, “This is side B of cassette 9.” That’s the one and only moment in the book that made me laugh. ( )
  bookworm12 | Apr 11, 2014 |
In 1831, naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin joined the Beagle expedition to Tierra del Fuego. What he observed when he got to the new world would eventually lead him to formulate his theory of natural selection. Published in 1859, “On the Origin of the Species” is the controversial classic that revolutionized natural science and altered our understanding of the world. ( )
  MarkBeronte | Mar 4, 2014 |
I'm an enthusiast of evolutionary biology and I appreciate Darwin's enormous contribution to our understanding of the natural world. But somehow the Origin of Species wasn't very interesting to read. Maybe it's because most of what Darwin says has so thoroughly diffused itself into modern science that there's little new to find here. ( )
  Audacity88 | Feb 7, 2014 |
A Classic. One of the most pathbreaking books of all times. A book, which took me a little over a year to finish. "The" discourse on Evolution, the world of Darwin, which all of us are familiar with, we grew up in, with little understood or completely misunderstood and misused idioms like "Survival of the Fittest", which Darwin, interestingly attributes to Herbert Spencer.

I am sure everyone reading this review knows what the book would generally be about, and therefore, I would like to discuss some other features, which struck me. The book has a strong defensive undercurrent, through which Darwin at times is more concerned with defending his position than asserting his viewpoint. Darwin's tone, at places, where there is little proof to propagate his theory, is almost apologetic. Then he writes that many naturalists have come to terms with natural selection, while ridiculing others, who may still believe in independent creation of species.

Another most interesting observation was the glaring and most obvious absence of any definitive statement on the evolution of humans - a clear indication on Darwin's lack of willingness to rake up such a sensitive issue, his work being controversial enough as it already was. He touches upon this topic most superficially, carefully sandwiched in a para about Herbert Spencer and human psychology, "In the future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be securely based on the foundation already well laid by Mr. Herbert Spencer, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Much light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history." Darwin revisited this topic 12 years later, in his The Descent of Man, by which time, the populace probably had enough time to digest and accept the basic tenets of evolution.

A timeless book, even if now dated. ( )
  PiyushC | Dec 24, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (122 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Darwin, Charlesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Appleman, PhilipIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burrow, J. W.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bynum, WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carroll, JosephEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Charles G. DarwinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deardoff, Kenneth R.Cover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eliot, Charles WilliamEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ghiselin, Michael T.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grassé, Pierre-PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huxley, JulianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Landacre, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mayr, ErnstIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peckham, MorseEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quammen, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simpson, George GaylordForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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by David Quammen
On the Origin of Species is a surprising, peculiar work in many ways but among all its peculiarities my favorite is this: Seldom in the history of English prose has such a dangerous, disruptive, consequential book been so modest and affable in tone. That's because its author, Charles Darwin, was himself a modest and affable man—shy in demeanor though confident of his ideas—who meant to persuade, not to declaim or intimidate. You can hear it in his opening sentences:
When on board H.M.S. 'Beagle,' as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers.
He sounds lik a gentle uncle, clearing his throat politely, about to share a few curious observations and musings over tea.
When on board H.M.S. 'Beagle,' as naturalist, I was much struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants of South America, and in the geological relations of the present to the past inhabitants of that continent. These facts seemed to me to throw some light on the origin of species—that mystery of mysteries, as it has been called by one of our greatest philosophers. On my return home, it occurred to me, in 1837, that something might perhaps be made out on this question by patiently accumulating and reflecting on all sorts of facts which could possibly have any bearing on it. After five years' work I allowed myself to speculate on the subject, and drew up some short notes; these I enlarged in 1844 into a sketch of the conclusions, which then seemed to me probable: from that period to the present day I have steadily pursued the same object. I hope that I may be excused for entering on these personal details, as I give them to show that I have not been hasty in coming to a decision.
"It may be difficult, but we ought to admire the savage instinctive hatred of the queen-bee, which urges her to destroy the young queens, her daughters, as soon as they are born, or to perish herself in the combat; for undoubtedly this is for the good of the community; and maternal love or maternal hatred, though the latter fortunately is most rare, is all the same to the inexorable principles of natural selection."
Multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.
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For the first five editions the title was “On the Origin of Species”, the sixth edition of 1872 changed the title to “The Origin of Species”.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451529065, Mass Market Paperback)

The classic that exploded into public controversy, revolutionized the course of science, and continues to transform our views of the world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:13 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

This edition includes the complete text of Darwin's original and groundbreaking work on natural history, evolution, and natural selection, and features 90 black-and-white engraved illustrations available in no other edition.

(summary from another edition)

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