Perhaps the most influential science book ever written, On the Origin of Species has continued to fascinate for more than a century after its initial publication. Its controversial theory that populations evolve and adapt through a process known as natural selection led to heated scientific, philosophical, and religious debate, revolutionizing every discipline in its wake. With its clear, concise, and surprisingly enjoyable prose, On the Origin of Species is both captivating and edifying.
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Public Domain (P)2016 Naxos AudioBooks
An excellently read edition: Wickham is clear, emotive, authoritative, & reads without (so far as I could tell, & which is nigh unheard of) a single pronunciational, grammatical-misreading, or intonal error.
On the text itself, it's worth noting that this recording is from Darwin's heavily revised 1872 edition of On the Origin of Species, which is the sixth version of the text first published in 1859: The text is therefore quite a lot longer than one might expect, & filled not only with explanation of the theory but with long sections which dispute with or refer to the work of nineteenth-century naturalists with whom the general reader is unlikely to be familiar. This makes this version somewhat more foreign to the modern reader, but also gives space for Darwin to work at a greater depth on certain matters, which is very helpful to one trying to understand the complexities of the theory as he proposed it.
I would (and have) recommended this book to many. I believe this book to be the pinnacle of the progressive, scientific way of thinking. Though dated (both in content and in language used), this book holds great scientific and historical importance.
A lot of Richard Dawkins' writing, primarily the selfish gene, is comparable to Darwins "on the origin of species". Though Dawkins has the benefit of a century of scientific development and understanding, they both approach the topic in a similar manor.
As with most scientific writing, it helps vastly to have a preliminary knowledge before jumping in. If you are completely unfamiliar with biology or evolution then some of the finer points of this book will be lost on you. We have the privilege to be able to understand much that Darwin could not (genetic theory, true inheritance etc.). Reading / listening to this with an understanding of these concepts not only makes it easier to understand what Darwin wrote, but also gives a humbling realization to the gravity of what he was writing (and at such a time). Many of his predictions have since become true, and many of his observations can now be explained thoroughly with our modern understanding of genes.
"Historic ... a must read"
I'm not sure I could "read" this book because it goes on forever. But it was good listen. You have to make allowances because of when it was written and tough sell it must have been over the creationists. Even though you already know all the concepts, it still makes one look at nature with a new perspective and marvel at the vast diversity of life.
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