Introduced by Richard Keynes
No book has revolutionised our view of life on earth more than Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. Yet its enduring popularity is testimony to the immense energy and startling simplicity with which Darwin makes his revelations.
'One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.'When first published in 1859, its central theory - that the natural order was not permanent and unchanging but a gradual process of evolution - met with fierce opposition. How dare any man challenge the concept of divine creation? But the first edition sold out within a day (it has remained in print ever since), its author was declared the most dangerous man in England, and a new era in human thought had begun. The seeds of Darwin's explosive ideas had planted themselves in his mind when, as a young scientist on a five-year voyage of exploration on board HMS Beagle, he tramped around the tropical forests of Brazil, made sketches of the fossil-packed strata of Patagonia, experienced the geological drama of the Andes, and encountered the extraordinary animal life of the Galapagos Islands. But, on his return, a fear of the probable impact of his discoveries also took root. Darwin was himself a deeply religious man and, unsurprisingly perhaps, spent twenty years in rigorous intellectual enquiry, exhaustive experiments and soul-searching before, finally, an anxiety that someone else would get there first spurred him to go public.
‘The theory of natural selection is a prime candidate for the title of the greatest idea ever to occur to a human mind’
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Review by Jayson97 on 30th Dec 2017
"A staple of modern biology, one every self-respecting academic and intellectual should own and read, the Folio Edition is a marvel above all. The binding is excellent, so is the beautiful cover with ..." [read more]
Review by anon on 30th Jan 2015
"Charles Darwin has to be one of Britain's most influential and inspiring geographic biologists and theorists. Reading through this book whilst realising this was based in a time before the technologic..." [read more]
Review by foliovolumes on 15th Aug 2014
"An excellent edition of one of the pillars of modern biology. Contrary to the previous review, this edition does in fact contain Darwin's original figures since the 1859 edition only contained 1. "