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Dinosaur in a Haystack (1996)
Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0517888246, Paperback)Gould's seventh collection of essays covers a wide range of subjects in natural history, literature, and popular culture--from the wisdom of Charles Darwin to that of the Old Testament Psalms, from the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park to the dinosaurs of the latest scientific theories, from the thwarted humanity of the Frankenstein monster to the inhuman fallacies of eugenics and other pseudoscience. With black and white illustrations.
"Here is a new collection of Gould's unexpected connections between evolution and all manner of subjects, literature high among them. Gathered from his monthly column in Natural History magazine, these articles should delight, surprise, and inform his vast readership, as have his six prior volumes of essays. Somehow the light bulb pops on every month as his deadline approaches, some glowing fact pulled out of memory--often a line from Shakespeare or Tennyson--that illumines a generality Gould wishes to discuss. "Nature, red in tooth and claw" (Lord Alfred's line) induces dilations on the extent science can inform moral matters (not much, Gould believes); a remembrance of the infamous Wansee protocol prompts Gould's denunciation of the genocidal looting of evolutionary theory and, by extension, its vulnerability to ignoramuses in general. These two examples of the Gouldian essay method, fortunately, don't foreshadow a gloomy parade of topics: Gould can as easily alight at the fun house where mass culture absorbs ideas about evolution through movies of monsters run amok from Frankenstein to Jurassic Park. In other essays, he plunges directly into matters of evolutionary interpretation but customarily employs a literary twist: who else but Gould could link Edgar Allan Poe with his own area of professional eminence, the paleontology of snails? A discovery awaits in every essay--in every haystack--which solidifies Gould as one of the most eloquent science popularizers writing today."
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:04:05 -0400)
Evolutionary biologist and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould has perfected the art of the essay in this brilliant new collection. These thirty-four essays, most originally published in Natural History magazine, exemplify the keen insight with which Dr. Gould observes the natural world and convey the infectious enthusiasm for fossils and evolutionary theory that has made his books award-winning, national best-sellers. In his latest musings on evolution and other natural phenomena, Gould reveals the uncanny interconnections among distinctly human creations - museums, literature, music, politics, and culture - encompassing a delightfully, wide range of topics, from giant fossils, fads, and fungus to baseball, beeswax, and blaauwbocks, from a humanistic look at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Erasmus Darwin's poetry to the fallacies of eugenics and creationism and the moral imperatives of thinking people to meet the ethical challenges that pseudo-science presents.
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