Paul Johnson Darwin: Portrait of a Genius

ISBN 13: 9780147509772

Darwin: Portrait of a Genius

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9780147509772: Darwin: Portrait of a Genius

A “riveting” (The Wall Street Journal) biography of one of the most influential and controversial scientists in Western history

Acclaimed historian and biographer Paul Johnson turns his keen eye on Charles Darwin, the towering figure whose work continues to spur scientific debate.

With his publication of On the Origin of Species, Darwin forever changed our concept of the world. While Johnson praises Darwin’s extraordinary skills as a natural scientist and his monumental achievements, he does not sidestep Darwin’s tragic failures as an anthropologist. Johnson argues that by applying his theory of natural selection to humans, Darwin provided a platform for the burgeoning eugenics movement. Lay readers and academics alike will enjoy this concise and unflinching exploration of Charles Darwin, a genius whose discoveries—even the flawed ones—add significant dimension to our understanding of his mind, the era in which he lived, and his everlasting impact on our world.

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About the Author:

Paul Johnson is the author of many bestselling books, including Socrates: A Man for Our Times; Jesus: A Biography from a Believer; and Churchill. He lives in London.

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Always provocative, historian Johnson critiques Charles Darwin, whose insight into evolution by natural selection he acknowledges but whose intellectual weaknesses he scores as hindrances to Darwin’s achieving more in science. Johnson writes that Darwin was a procrastinator, poor at math, and ignorant of foreign languages. The charges asserted, Johnson raises them at particular points in his narrative of Darwin’s life. Darwin’s habit of delaying publishing to conduct overly meticulous research, for example, nearly defeated his claim to fame. On the Origin of Species was panicked into print by Darwin’s fear of preemption by Alfred Russel Wallace. By Darwin’s subsequent publications Johnson is but mildly impressed, partly because some do not hold up well (The Descent of Man) and partly because Darwin pursued tangents at the expense of theorizing a mechanism of heredity, as Gregor Mendel did. This was Darwin’s missed opportunity, which delayed the genetics revolution and opened conceptual space for the pernicious doctrines of social Darwinism––so runs Johnson’s argument. Characteristically pithy and incisive, the ever-popular Johnson offers a Darwin who will be much in demand. --Gilbert Taylor

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. A riveting (The Wall Street Journal) biography of one of the most influential and controversial scientists in Western history Acclaimed historian and biographer Paul Johnson turns his keen eye on Charles Darwin, the towering figure whose work continues to spur scientific debate. With his publication of On the Origin of Species, Darwin forever changed our concept of the world. While Johnson praises Darwin s extraordinary skills as a natural scientist and his monumental achievements, he does not sidestep Darwin s tragic failures as an anthropologist. Johnson argues that by applying his theory of natural selection to humans, Darwin provided a platform for the burgeoning eugenics movement. Lay readers and academics alike will enjoy this concise and unflinching exploration of Charles Darwin, a genius whose discoveries even the flawed ones add significant dimension to our understanding of his mind, the era in which he lived, and his everlasting impact on our world. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780147509772

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2013. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. A riveting (The Wall Street Journal) biography of one of the most influential and controversial scientists in Western history Acclaimed historian and biographer Paul Johnson turns his keen eye on Charles Darwin, the towering figure whose work continues to spur scientific debate. With his publication of On the Origin of Species, Darwin forever changed our concept of the world. While Johnson praises Darwin s extraordinary skills as a natural scientist and his monumental achievements, he does not sidestep Darwin s tragic failures as an anthropologist. Johnson argues that by applying his theory of natural selection to humans, Darwin provided a platform for the burgeoning eugenics movement. Lay readers and academics alike will enjoy this concise and unflinching exploration of Charles Darwin, a genius whose discoveries even the flawed ones add significant dimension to our understanding of his mind, the era in which he lived, and his everlasting impact on our world. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780147509772

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