Synopses & Reviews
In the Origin of Species (1859) Darwin challenged many of the most deeply held beliefs of the Western world. Arguing for a material, not divine, origin of species, he showed that new species are achieved by 'natural selection'. Development, diversification, decay, extinction and absence of plan are all inherent to his theories. Darwin read prodigiously across many fields; he reflected on his experiences as a traveller, he experimented. His profoundly influential concept of 'natural selection' condenses materials from past and present, from the Galapagos Islands to rural Staffordshire, from English back gardens to colonial encounters. The Origin communicates the enthusiasm of original thinking in an open, descriptive style, and Darwin's emphasis on the value of diversity speaks more strongly now than ever.
Since its publication in 1859, The Origin of Species has been the focal point of debate. Darwin's analysis of flora and fauna calls into question the long-held concepts of spontaneous generation, divine creation, and the unrelatedness of many species. Instead, he argues for Natural Selection: species survive and evolve in response to environmental conditions and other circumstances through a process in which those creatures and plants with stronger, more enduring characteristics live to beget more adaptable offspring. It was Darwin's research aboard the H.M.S. Beagle that led to the clash of intellectual titans - religion and science - over the true nature of humankind. Here is the book that started one of the greatest debates of the Western world.