From so simple a beginning. The four great books of Charles Darwin
Edward O Wilson (ed)
New York, US: W W Norton | 2005 | 1706pp | £27.00 | ISBN 0393061345
Reviewed by Jonathan Prater
If you have a lot of spare time over the holiday period then you might like to dip into this huge compilation of the great works of Darwin in one volume. Included are The voyage of the Beagle (1845), On the origin of species (1859), The descent of man (1871) and The expression of the emotions in man and animals(1872).
The whole volume is linked by six essays and a general index by the eminent biologist Edward O Wilson which put the work of Darwin into their historical context. He shows how Darwin conceived and tested the idea of evolution by natural selection.
Reading Darwin's works afresh is well worth the effort and with the original illustrations this volume gives the feel that one is reading the first editions.
Any scientist who receives both this volume and Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale will be on cloud nine this Christmas.