Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution

Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution

Rebecca Stott / Jun 05, 2020

Darwin s Ghosts The Secret History of Evolution An extraordinarily wide ranging and engaging book about the men who shaped the work of Charles Darwin a book that enriches our understanding of how the struggle to think new thoughts is shared across

  • Title: Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution
  • Author: Rebecca Stott
  • ISBN: 9781400069378
  • Page: 157
  • Format: Hardcover
  • An extraordinarily wide ranging and engaging book about the men who shaped the work of Charles Darwin a book that enriches our understanding of how the struggle to think new thoughts is shared across time and space and people The Sunday Telegraph London Christmas, 1859 Just one month after the publication of On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin received An extraordinarily wide ranging and engaging book about the men who shaped the work of Charles Darwin a book that enriches our understanding of how the struggle to think new thoughts is shared across time and space and people The Sunday Telegraph London Christmas, 1859 Just one month after the publication of On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin received an unsettling letter He had expected criticism in fact, letters were arriving daily, most expressing outrage and accusations of heresy But this letter was different It accused him of failing to acknowledge his predecessors, of taking credit for a theory that had already been discovered by others Darwin realized that he had made an error in omitting from Origin of Species any mention of his intellectual forebears Yet when he tried to trace all of the natural philosophers who had laid the groundwork for his theory, he found that history had already forgotten many of them.Darwin s Ghosts tells the story of the collective discovery of evolution, from Aristotle, walking the shores of Lesbos with his pupils, to Al Jahiz, an Arab writer in the first century, from Leonardo da Vinci, searching for fossils in the mine shafts of the Tuscan hills, to Denis Diderot in Paris, exploring the origins of species while under the surveillance of the secret police, and the brilliant naturalists of the Jardin de Plantes, finding evidence for evolutionary change in the natural history collections stolen during the Napoleonic wars Evolution was not discovered single handedly, Rebecca Stott argues, contrary to what has become standard lore, but is an idea that emerged over many centuries, advanced by daring individuals across the globe who had the imagination to speculate on nature s extraordinary ways, and who had the courage to articulate such speculations at a time when to do so was often considered heresy.With each chapter focusing on an early evolutionary thinker, Darwin s Ghosts is a fascinating account of a diverse group of individuals who, despite the very real dangers of challenging a system in which everything was presumed to have been created perfectly by God, felt compelled to understand where we came from Ultimately, Stott demonstrates, ideas including evolution itself evolve just as animals and plants do, by intermingling, toppling weaker notions, and developing over stretches of time Darwin s Ghosts presents a groundbreaking new theory of an idea that has changed our very understanding of who we are.

    Darwin s Ghosts The Secret History of Evolution Stott Darwin s Ghosts is a beautiful tribute to the buried tradition of curious, courageous observers who, before Darwin explained how evolution worked, witnessed the mutability of species for themselves and recorded what they saw Jonathan Rosen, author of The Life of the Skies Birding Darwin s Ghosts A Novel With recently published Darwin s Ghosts Mr Dorfman has written a novel for our time Penetrating, profound and highly stimulating, Darwin s Ghosts grabbed me right from the first pages and kept me eagerly reading on the story was so engrossing, almost to the point of hypnotic, I Darwin s Ghosts The Secret History of Evolution by Jan , Darwin s Ghosts is a series of colourful and engaging portraits of several naturalists mentioned in Darwin s Historical Sketch, a prefatory list of acknowledgements that Darwin added to the fourth edition of the Origin, in . Darwin s Ghost The Origin of Species Updated by Steve Jones Jan , Darwin s Ghost was Darwin s own book updated with new findings and proof of the findings Evolution is one of many of Darwin s theories, and through his book Origin Of Species , Darwin explained evolution and our journey from single cell organisms, to Darwin s Ghosts by Ariel Dorfman About Darwin s Ghosts From the author of Death and the Maiden and other works that explore relations of power in the postcolonial world comes the story of a Darwin s Ghosts NPR Jan , Just before Christmas in , only a month after he had finally published On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection, Charles Darwin found himself disturbed, even haunted, by the thought Darwin s Ghosts by Rebecca Stott Mar , With each chapter focusing on an early evolutionary thinker, Darwin s Ghosts is a fascinating account of a diverse group of individuals who, despite the very real dangers of challenging a system in which everything was presumed to have been created perfectly by God, felt compelled to understand where we came from. Darwin s Ghosts by Rebecca Stott review Books The Jun , Darwin s Ghosts by Rebecca Stott review It is an intriguing connection, and Darwin would have been delighted by it in his generous way Jahiz was an ecologist rather than an evolutionist

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      157 Rebecca Stott
    • thumbnail Title: ↠ Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution || ☆ PDF Read by À Rebecca Stott
      Posted by:Rebecca Stott
      Published :2020-03-27T19:31:36+00:00

    About "Rebecca Stott"

      • Rebecca Stott

        Rebecca Stott was born in Cambridge in 1964 and raised in Brighton in a large Plymouth Brethren community She studied English and Art History at York University and then completed an MA and PhD whilst raising her son, Jacob, born in 1984.She is the author of several academic books on Victorian literature and culture, two books of non fiction, including a partial biography of Charles Darwin, and a cultural history of the oyster She is now a Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia She has three children, Jacob, Hannah and Kezia and has lived in Cambridge since 1993 She has made several radio programmes for Radio Four.Her first novel, Ghostwalk, is published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson in the UK, is the launch novel of the new fiction list of Spiegel and Grau in the US a new division of Random House and is being translated into 12 different languages including Russian and Chinese She is writing her next novel, The Coral Thief.


    577 Comments

    1. Do you love Darwin? You should, really should. I know everyone loves Einstein because he looks so cute in his iconic pictures; his hair makes him seem a bit like a troll doll. Plus his theories seem so brainy and math heavy as to be almost imponderable. But Darwin? He looks so serious in his pictures, like one of the Smith Brothers of cough lozenge fame. And evolution? It isn't mathematical at all. At face value, it's a theory that anyone with observant eyes could have figured out.But let me tel [...]


    2. This book describes the lives and discoveries of a number of people who Darwin thought may have had some impact on the theory of evolution. Some of the earliest, such as Aristotle, actually had no concept of evolution. During the 1700's and early 1800's, several people developed ideas about evolution. However, only a couple--most notably Alfred Wallace--developed any concept of the mechanism of natural selection.It surprised me that Charles Darwin's grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was also a propon [...]


    3. If we’re not careful, we end up thinking of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution as something completely revolutionary, standing alone, unprecedented and bitterly opposed by a world totally unprepared for it. In some ways, it is true, but Darwin himself knew there had been other theorists before him — even if he didn’t agree with their conclusions — who had seen descent with modification at work and tried to come up with explanations, mechanisms, reasons. Rebecca Stott’s book redress [...]


    4. There's a very nice intro and using Darwin's acknowledgments from the second edition of 'Origin' was a nice outro, but most of the in-between bits were uneven, sometimes straying from what I understood to be the purpose of the book.Each of these chapters were to reveal the contributions of the 'transmutationists' who preceded Darwin, often suffering the wrath of The Church in the process. Several of these chapters focus much more on biographical sketch than on scientific thought, however. And so [...]


    5. A Superb Examination into the Origins of Darwinian ThoughtRebecca Stott’s “Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution” is a masterful overview of the history of science leading up to Darwin’s discovery of Natural Selection as a primary mechanism for biological evolution. Hers is an especially important account, since she places the work of Darwin and his intellectual forebears within the context of the societies and cultures they inhabited, stretching across a vast gulf of time t [...]


    6. I think everyone should be a natural philosopher. Not professionally, of course. No one would be left to build rocket ships and brew seasonal ales for me. I am suggesting an explosion in the number of amateur or hobbyist natural philosophers. I think the world would be a much improved place if more people got lost in the woods, picked through a spade-full of dirt to count all the bugs, or simply looked up at the sky at night and wondered at what they saw.It's that last bit that is precious to me [...]


    7. A history of ideas surrounding the explanation for the difference of species, before Darwin's grand theory of the origin of speciesWhen Darwin had published his first version of The Origin of Species, he received a lot of letters from people who claimed to have developed the concept of natural selection before Darwin. In his fourth version, he added a list of people who - in his view - had contributed their ideas towards Darwin.This book is therefore not about Darwin itself, but the people who c [...]


    8. Maybe I'm being unfair with three stars; it is quite a fascinating book. However, I had trouble paying attention sometimes. I think it's because the format became tedious for me. The book is essentially a series of chronological mini-biographies of men who paved the way for Darwin to be able to publish his famous book and subsequently become the most famous of them all, but he probably could not have done it without them. I enjoyed learning about all these rather radical groundbreakers, who all [...]


    9. DARWIN’S GHOSTS: The Secret History of Evolution. (2012). Rebecca Stott. ****. When Darwin was preparing his text for his fourth edition of “The Origin Of Species” for the American market (the first edition that was not pirated), he included a foreward entitled: “An Historical Sketch of the Recent Progress of Opinion on the Origin of Species.” His intent in this introduction was to give credit to the men who provided significant work in this field. When he had completed his citations h [...]


    10. Darwin's Ghosts is a series of colourful and engaging portraits of several naturalists mentioned in Darwin's "Historical Sketch," a prefatory list of acknowledgements that Darwin added to the fourth edition of the Origin, in 1866. The sketch lists all the naturalists whom he credited with having considered, in one way or another, the mutability of species prior to the publication of the Origin. Some were relatively unknown scholars who wrote to Darwin indignantly demanding credit for ideas that [...]


    11. Here are the intellects that preceded Darwin and his Origin of Species. Stung by a criticism that his Origin of Species was not, in effect, original, he would put a "Historical Sketch" in his third edition to show who proceeded him. What this author has done was to investigate all the theories and scholarship that addressed natural diversity, evolution ("transmutation" it was often called), and natural selection. The author found a wider college of thought than the "Historical Sketch" did, from [...]


    12. დარვინის თეორიამ დიდი ცვლილებები გამოიწვია ადამიანის აზროვნებაში. მისი " სახეობათა წარმოშობა" მიიჩნევა ერთ-ერთ ყველაზე მნიშველოვან და გავლენიან წიგნად რომელმაც შეცვალა წარმოდგენები სი [...]


    13. An artist matters. If Beethoven never existed we would never have had his seventh symphony. However as this book illustrates in science things are very different. If Darwin never existed we would be deprived of his beautiful book Origin of Species but we would definitely still today be talking about the theory of Evolution. Ideas in science are more impersonal than art and don't depend on individual genius but are usually floating around in the culture until someone clever enough comes up with t [...]


    14. Great book, basically a short biography about Darwins predecessors. Some I had already heard of but knew little about their biological research, like Aristotle, but most I had not heard of, And I liked learning about them and the research they did.My only complaint about the book, is really the title and part of the preface where the author implies that Darwin was a radical. I don't really think someone who did in depth research and then waited decades to publish it out of fear of shaking things [...]


    15. This account of the achievements (and errors) of evolutionary biologists before Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace highlights the struggle of early scientific observers to understand what they saw. As one commentator put it, "the theory of evolution explains the fact of evolution." Many of the people described in this book understood that both living species and fossils showed evidence that species had changed in a way that made them better adapted to their environment, but they did not understan [...]


    16. With a title like this, it seems blatantly obvious this book would attract readers interested in science and history; but, actually you don't need a scientific background to appreciate and enjoy reading this book. I do not have a scientific background, but the book reviews and reader comments published on piqued my interest. Most of the comments were positive; the negative comments referred to the book's length and excessive details. After reading the book, I disagree that the length and excess [...]


    17. This was an absolutely fascinating book! I was hooked immediately in the preface when the author described her childhood quest for knowledge outside the restrictions of a religious household. Each chapter thereafter is assigned a person of importance who contributed to the theory of evolution, be they naturalists or scientists, culminating with Charles Darwin (who later added an "Historical Sketch" to his famous book to acknowledge his predecessors of thought - proving that their contributions a [...]


    18. I can’t say I thought this was a worthwhile read. I was1/3 through before I learned something I didn’t already know. I didn’t really get the point of the book. Was it that people were involved in empirical thought before Darwin? Knew that already. Was it to tell us people thought of the evolution concept before Darwin? Knew that already. That Darwin expanded the ideas of others? We knew that. Was it an attempt to put together Darwins intellectual forebears? If so, it was not well realized. [...]


    19. Charles Darwin and evolution are my most favorite subject. This book started well for some 10 pages, noting the when Darwin was rushed into print with the first edition, he received complaints that he had not acknowledged earlier writers who had pointed out that species had changed over time.The subject of this book then is who are those earlier writers, The Ghosts.She then goes into several hundred pages, starting with Aristotle, discussing earlier writers. They did write about animals but not [...]


    20. This was a great little walk-thru of the major influences through people and establishments that led to not only the belief of evolution and acceptance of the theory in science starting with Aristotle, but the keystone as to /how/ evolution occurred. While Darwin may not have known about the ancient influences, Stott provided a clear chain of more local influences between decades and cultures that cultivated the path towards the eruption of evolution in the mid-nineteenth century. This book weav [...]


    21. It's not clear how haunted Darwin was by these other men -- by Stott's account, he seems to have mostly been ignorant of their work.Slightly off-the-mark title aside, this is a terrific story, written in highly readable narrative prose. It's about Darwin's predecessors (and, in the case of Alfred Wallace at least, the man who almost beat him to the punch). Starting with Aristotle (not an evolutionist, but a close observer of fact in the natural world) and working through Leonardo da Vinci and on [...]


    22. I tend to devour any and all books about Charles Darwin, his theories of evolution and the survival of the fittest, and, in general, the revolutionary era of scientific advancement in which he lived. This book covers the history of Darwin's thoughts, but starting with Aristotle and going right on down to Darwin's grandfather, Darwin's contemporaries, and Darwin himself. Stott spends time detailing scientists and naturalists from around the world and throughout history who have discovered, indepe [...]


    23. Less to do about Darwin, more of a tracing of the ideas of evolution and origin of species from the time of Aristotle - the many shoulders that Darwin stood upon to complete his 'Origins'. Amazing how far we have progressed but are still fighting the same prejudices that were fought from the 13th century onward. All of the giants of natural history were in constant fear for their lives and reputations as the church steadfastly defended Genesis - to the point of branding these geniuses heretics. [...]


    24. I have to confess I did not enjoy this book as much I hoped. Whilst the stories and bios of each of the scientists/naturalists listed here are interesting and enjoyable, there is too much extraneous information to hold a reader’s interest for long, never mind the often irrelevant and rather exasperating footnotes to the text that the author provides. I think Ms Stott had excellent motives for writing this book and giving the men (all men!) whose lives she describes their rightful place in the [...]


    25. Although thoroughly researched…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…and written in great de-…ZZZZZZZZZZZZ…tail, this book never…never really…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…never really seems to hold the reader’s attention.It is easy to surmise that no grand notion, be it academic or artistic, is truly of unique gestation. What Stott had done here, is exhaustively account for all known predecessors of the nearly sainted man of science, Charles Darwin. Although well written, as the aforementioned Zs’ indicate, i [...]


    26. Very interesting and well-written book about all the people in history who had questioned the origin of species before Darwin and how their writings about natural history influenced each other. It also shows how people actually thought or interpreted the origin of species without knowing about natural selection. They often couldn't explain how species evolve so people that read their works were often skeptical of evolution (until Darwin introduced natural selection, of course).


    27. Rebecca was my MA mentor + my writing owes a lot to hers even though my subject matter is less serious! It took me a good while toough through this + I do prefer her fiction, but it was worth every moment!




    28. This review is from: Darwin's Ghosts: In Search of the First Evolutionists by Stott. Rebecca ( 2013 ) Paperback (Paperback)This is a very compelling read and provides a reasonably good synthesis of the known literature regarding Darwin's precursors. I see other reviewers, on , of this book, have identified that Stott has just made some things up in 'Darwin's Ghosts'. I can't comment on that with any degree of qualification. But there is a massive concern on my part about this book being passed-o [...]


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