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Charles Darwin
Photograph of Charles Darwin at age 31

Painted portrait of Charles Darwin at age 31

Photograph of Charles Darwin at age 51

Photograph of Charles Darwin at age 51

Charles Darwin is one of the most famous scientists in history ... or, depending on your point of view, one of the most infamous scientists in history. Either way, he had the same kind of effect on the life sciences that Newton or Einstein had on physics. His discoveries and his ideas are still reverberating today, a hundred and thirty years after he died.

Books by Charles Darwin

Darwin is best known for his theory of evolution, but there was a lot more to him than just that. He was an entomologist, a naturalist, a geologist, a paleontologist, a botanist, and quite possibly the single greatest scientist ever to grace the life sciences. His writings alone could fill a room: a score of books, hundreds of scientific papers, and thousands of letters to other scientists. I have only a few of his works, but even these few paint a vivid picture of the man as he actually was.

  • CHARLES DARWIN AND THE VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE
    Author: Barlow, Lady Nora
    Copyright:1946
    Publisher: Philosophical Library
    ISBN:
    A collection of previously unpublished letters and notes from Charles Darwin during and after the voyage of HMS BEAGLE.
  • CHARLES DARWIN'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY
    Author: Darwin, Charles
    Copyright:1961
    Publisher: Collier Books
    ISBN:

  • ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
    Author: Darwin, Charles
    Copyright:1963
    Publisher: The Heritage Press
    ISBN:
    High-quality centenary hardcover publication of Darwin's masterwork on his theory of evolution by natural selection, based on the sixth and final edition Darwin wrote.
  • ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES BY MEANS OF NATURAL SELECTION
    Author: Darwin, Charles
    Copyright:1994
    Publisher: Senate Press
    ISBN: 1-85958-070-X
    A facsimile of the 6th Edition of On the Origin of Species.
  • ORIGIN OF SPECIES, THE (1st Ed. reprint)
    Author: Darwin, Charles
    Copyright:1968
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    ISBN: 0-14-043205-1
    A reprint of the first edition of ON THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES.
  • STRUCTURE AND DISTRIBUTION OF CORAL REEFS, THE
    Author: Darwin, Charles
    Copyright:1961
    Publisher: Univ of California Press
    ISBN: 0-520-00291-1
    This is a reprint of a book Darwin wrote in 1842, on his theory of formation of coral reefs and atolls. The theory proved so accurate that it passed every test and is still accepted in substantially the same form today. I think it's significant mainly because it shows Darwin's scientific mind at work, and shows clearly that he deserves a lot of credit for his work aside from his theory of evolution.
  • THE DESCENT OF MAN, AND SELECTION IN RELATION TO SEX
    Author: Darwin, Charles
    Copyright:1981
    Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press
    ISBN: 0-691-02369-7

  • VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE, THE
    Author: Darwin, Charles
    Copyright:1937
    Publisher: P.F. Collier
    ISBN:
    In 1831, Darwin obtained a post as resident naturalist aboard the brig HMS Beagle. Over the next five years, Beagle conducted a series of detailed hydrographic surveys of various islands and coasts for the purpose of charting them. Her travels led her along both coasts of South America; to several island chains in the Pacific Ocean, including the Galapagos; to Australia; into the Indian Ocean; and eventually home by way of the Cape of Good Hope and the Azores. Darwin kept copious notes and journals during the voyage, including details of all his observations made on the voyage and some of the early results of analyzing his specimen collections.. After he came home, he collected these journals and published them as THE VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE. Since then, this book has become Darwin's second-best-known work. My copy is the version from the Harvard Classics Series, dated 1937, reprinted in 1969. Like most of Darwin's works, THE VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE is out of copyright, and electronic versions are available in several places on the Web.

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Books about Charles Darwin

As noted above, Even if you set aside his theory of evolution, Charles Darwin's many books, papers, and other works still make him one of the greatest naturalists of the nineteenth century. So it's not surprising that he's been the subject of a great many books. I have a few of them:

  • CHARLES DARWIN: A NEW LIFE
    Author: Bowlby, John
    Copyright:1990
    Publisher: W. W. Norton
    ISBN:
    A biography of Darwin which focuses not on his scientific work, but on his personal and family life. During most of his adult life, Darwin suffered from a mysterious malady that weakened him physically and kept him from doing nearly as much as he would have liked. The author's intent here was to explore the nature of Darwin's physical ailment, its origins and how and why it affected him as it did.
  • CHARLES DARWIN: VOYAGING
    Author: Browne, Janet
    Copyright:1995
    Publisher: Princeton Univ Press
    ISBN: 0-691-02606-8
    Another biography of Darwin. This one focuses on his scientific work and his relationship with other great scientists of his day.
  • DARWIN AND THE BEAGLE
    Author: Moorehead, Alan
    Copyright:1969
    Publisher: Harper & Row
    ISBN: 06-013017-2
    An examination of Darwin's voyage aboard the HMS BEAGLE. Everyone knows the basic story of Darwin's experiences aboard the BEAGLE; however, there's a lot of legend mixed in with the classic account. This book looks at what really happened: what Darwin discovered and how it gradually changed his thinking about life and its origins.
  • DOCTOR DARWIN
    Author: Pearson, Hesketh
    Copyright:1930
    Publisher: Walker & Company
    ISBN:
    A biography of the "other" Darwin, Dr. Erasmus Darwin, Charles's grandfather. Erasmus Darwin is an interesting figure in his own right, as he was a religious rogue, an amateur naturalist, and developed some incomplete ideas on evolution that may well have affected his grandson.
  • ESSENTIAL DARWIN, THE
    Author: Korey, Kenneth
    Copyright:1984
    Publisher: Little, Brown
    ISBN: 0-316-45827-9
    A collection of Darwin's writings on evolutionary theory with commentary.
  • LIFE OF CHARLES DARWIN, THE
    Author: Darwin, Francis
    Copyright:1995
    Publisher: Senate Press
    ISBN: 1-85958-148-X
    Francis Darwin's biography of his father, first published in 1902. The text consists of Darwin's short autobiography, plus many selected letters from Darwin's library. Francis Darwin adds a lot of his own commentary.
  • SURVIVAL OF CHARLES DARWIN, THE
    Author: Clark, Ronald W.
    Copyright:1984
    Publisher: Random House
    ISBN: 0-394-52134-X
    A brief biography of Darwin-the-scientist mixed with a history of the theory of evolution since Darwin proposed it.
  • THREE MEN OF THE BEAGLE
    Author: Marks, Richard Lee
    Copyright:1991
    Publisher: Avon
    ISBN: 0-380-71838-3
    A book about three different men whose lives intertwined aboard the HMS Beagle: Charles Darwin, naturalist; Captain Charles FitzRoy, expedition commander; and Jemmy Buttons, a native from Tierra del Fuego that the Beagle was bringing back to his home after several years in England.
  • WHAT DARWIN REALLY SAID
    Author: Farrington, Benjamin
    Copyright:1966
    Publisher: Schocken Books
    ISBN: 0-8052-1062-8
    A short book that looks at some of the misconceptions about what Darwin did and didn't say in his writings about evolutionary theory.

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