Charles Darwin: Book summary and reviews of Charles Darwin by Janet Browne

Charles Darwin

The Power of Place

By Janet Browne

Charles Darwin
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2002,
    608 pages.

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Book Summary

In 1858, Charles Darwin was forty-nine years old, a gentleman scientist living quietly at Down House in the Kent countryside. He was not yet a focus of debate; his "big book on species" still lay on his desk as a manuscript. For more than twenty years he had been accumulating material for it, puzzling over the questions that it raised, trying to bring it to a satisfactory conclusion, and wanting to be certain that his startling theory of evolution was correct.

It is at this point that the concluding volume of Janet Browne's magisterial biography opens. Beginning with the extraordinary events that finally forced the Origin of Species into print, we come to the years of fame and controversy. Here, Browne does dramatic justice to all aspects of the Darwinian revolution, from a fascinating examination of the Victorian publishing scene to a survey of the debates between scientists and churchmen over evolutionary theory. At the same time, she presents a wonderfully sympathetic and authoritative picture of Darwin himself.

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Book Awards

  • award image National Book Critics Circle Award, 2002

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Now she has published the much-anticipated second half, and it is more spellbinding than the first, which ended on a cliffhanger of sorts." - PW

"Browne, a zoologist and historian of science, offers a frank, comprehensive, and detailed account of the last half of Darwin's life" - Library Journal

"A richly detailed, vivid, and definitive portrait with not a word wasted: the best life of Charles Darwin in the modern literature." - Kirkus

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