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The Origin of Species/The Voyage of the Beagle

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  357 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Easily the most influential book published in the nineteenth century, Darwin's "The Origin of Species" is also that most unusual phenomenon, an altogether readable discussion of a scientific subject. On its appearance in 1859 it was immediately recognized by enthusiasts and detractors alike as a work of the greatest importance: its revolutionary theory of evolution by mean ...more
Hardcover, 1024 pages
Published October 14th 2003 by Everyman's Library
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Best Books of the Decade: 1850s
8th out of 92 books — 74 voters
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Banned Books: Public Domain
7th out of 57 books — 38 voters

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Community Reviews

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A couple of years ago I had the notion, even though I last studied science at about the age of nineteen (ah how well I remember spending a Wednesday afternoon trying to measure the size of stars in tenths of a millimeter using a ruler whose smallest increment was a millimeter. I earnt a fine headache from that and learnt that pointless exercises come in many flavours) to read some Darwin. On grounds of cost, in other words because it was the cheapest, I bought this awkwardly large volume contain ...more
Steven Peterson
This is an excellent volume. Two of Charles Darwin's major works are included: "The Voyage of the Beagle" and "The Origin of Species." There is a well written and sprightly introduction by evolutionary theorist Richard Dawkins. One additional good feature is a Chronology, beginning on page xxxiv.

Dawkins sets the stage with his 20+ page introduction. He speaks eloquently of the importance of Darwin's work, and the profound nature of his theoretical perspective on evolution. He places Darwin's wo
Pierre E. Loignon
Darwin is the Homer of our actual occidental civilization because we generally hear an over simplification made in the mediocre journalistic spirit of our time.
If you read Darwin for real, you will see that he was a rigorous scientist that has nothing to do with a mythologist of evolution. For him, evolution is not the true ontological story of the world, but a theory describing changes that we can experiment in biology. Evolution does not explain any origin and can not be use to predict anythin
It was written in 1800's, first part was the voyage of the Beagle (the ship's name) where he went sailing round the world in. From Europe to Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Galapagos, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Tasmania, Keeling island near Sumatera, Mauritius, back to Brazil and finally reached home of England after 5 long years of journey. In each place, he would venture into the inlands by by foot or horses, climbing and hiking the hills and mountains, crossing the Andes range, experienc ...more
Hallie Huffman
Feb 16, 2015 Hallie Huffman is currently reading it
I love that he is so animated about his work, but wow, this is extremely detailed. However, I love that the man revered for such amazing connections is also just a guy complaining about his hotel accommodations!
Apr 17, 2012 Dagný marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm taking a loooooong time reading this, but it is very interesting and I look forward to being able to say "Oh yeah, I've read The Origin of Species" and look all intelligent.
Obviously a landmark in biology, and obviously pretty dry.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Simon Mcleish
Review (of The Voyage of the Beagle only) originally published on my blog here in February 2007.

The eighteenth and nineteenth century saw many voyages of exploration by Europeans, most of which would have been followed by reports and books, ancestors of today's travel memoirs. Most of these voyages have now been forgotten, even the names they gave many places being swept away in our post-colonial world. The books produced are even more forgotten in general: the sort of books you sometimes see in
Awwww yeah, evolution.

I have to be honest, unless you're a very specific kind of geek (that is, literary and also interested in molecular genetics) this book probably isn't for you. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how not-dry it was. Don't get me wrong, it's 913 pages of an upper-middle class 19th century British man fawning over ant hills formations and geological deposits. But Darwin is surprisingly eloquent, and it doesn't lack a touch of cheeky British humour.

This particular version w
What's important when you read the Granddaddy of evolutionary thoughts is that you keep in mind that this entire book is a long discussion and setup for the idea of natural selection. So yes, it can be tedious.

What's astonishing is that Darwin is so careful with his approach that he dedicates a section at the end of each chapter to discuss the weaknesses in his argument. Also, it's great to see how much knowledgeable and ahead of his time Darwin was, not just with the theory of natural selectio
Mar 15, 2012 Denise is currently reading it
Bought this book for the introduction by Richard Dawkins and because I feel it is important for those involved or interested in biology to have some knowledge of Darwin's work. Having read bits and pieces of Origin several years ago, wasn't sure if I'd be able to slog through the nearly one thousand pages. Pleasantly surprised by the vivid writing in Voyage -a little history, a little reflection, biology and geology. Origin remains the type of reading I do in spurts -heavy detail and more about ...more
Charles Darwin is brilliant. What an amazing story. A Journey around parts of the world through the eyes of an incredibly smart man. I truly enjoyed this. He is a philosopher of Science. He makes very logical points and backs them with the facts.
Adrian Colesberry
There are few subjects that you can understand the bulk of by reading a single book. Darwin so profoundly changed biology with his description of infinite variations among individuals that you can understand much of biology by only reading The Origin of Species. The other subject is economics and that book is Wealth of Nations. Even if you're one of those people who are on the fence about evolution, Darwin's observations about variation literally form the basis of modern biology in a way that's ...more
A litter overly-detailed and pedantic, as literature and journals of that era tended to be...but spectacular detail it is.
Everyone has heard of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species", far fewer have read it, perhaps imagining that it is difficult to follow. It is actually written in very clear, precise English and a lot less long-winded than most Victorian novels. Darwin's theories were revolutionary and he wanted to put them across as clearly as he could to avoid any misunderstanding. He was not simply a scientist writing for other scientists.
This edition of the book also includes a write up of his journal entries ma
Never been more pleased to finish a book. This isn't to say I didn't enjoy it. I liked learning what the original arguments for (and also against) evolution were. I actually found the Voyage of the Beagle a -very- interesting read, and my only real wish for this whole volume was that it had been annotated with current names and genus/species names for the various animals mentioned. I may eventually read The Voyage again, and when I do, I'll definitely be looking for an annotated version.
Ty mader
great book. actually i have got the origin of species and the voyage of the beagle in 2 separate bindings but could not find the edition here. one of the most important men in history i believe. reading both books will give insight into how and why he helped develop the theory of evolution. very well written in my opinion. he is able to give a vivid account of his voyage and findings. written straight forward (the way it should be.) very informational and a enjoyable read.
ian king
...5 stars only out of reverence for humbly steering man in a proper direction and for its historical relevance. otherwise, i would give it 3 stars when posturing it against contemporary writings. yes, it's dry, and there are modern day equivalents that serve to better immerse students in this field of study. however, it's absolutely beautiful to see the most eminent figure in biology entertain the pursuit for knowledge with an unabashed & childlike curiosity.
I have some sort of combined infection involving Darwin fever and Victoriana hysteria. Maybe this will cure it.

update: CD's hatred of Australia almost cured me, but not quite. I've only finished 'Voyage' and found it a top-notch travel read. CD is a hilariously lighthearted writer, and it is a delight to find out how little this prominent man of science knew about, for example, the process of infection. All-round fun. I'll return to 'Origin' some time in 2010.
I tried finding the original title "On the Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin, but these fucks at goodreads evidently dont like original copies of shit.

Anyway, this was great, and you really get an appreciation for his writing and personality when you consider the social context of his times and what he was getting ready to tell people.
This is my third read through the "Voyage of the Beagle," which is one of my all time favorites. Each time I get more out of it. What motivated me this time is to look for parallels to Thoreau's journals. My favorite is the "ant lion" description present in both.
This was an interesting read. I'm not too into science but I enjoyed some of the narratives in "Voyage" but I was a little bogged down in "Origin." I don't see what he said that was so crazy, but I'm sure in 1850 or whatever it was pretty out there.
This book is about the journey of Darwin to Island Galapagos.
Lot of adventures and the idea behind the book "The Origin of Species".
Philip Davis
Fabulous book, but an absolute slog. Had to force myself to read it all, but it's the bits that really matter that stayed with me.
Heavy reading but very interesting!! Would defiently reccomend to anyone wanting to find out more about Darwins adventures and his ideas.
N.A. Ratnayake
a bit dense, but very compelling and thought-provoking. easily among the very most important publications in all of science.
A sea voyage around the world leads a young geologist to discover the most revolutionary idea about human history.
I did NOT enjoy listening to this book. BUt it was something I always wanted to do.
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Charles Robert Darwin was an English naturalist, eminent as a collector and geologist, who proposed and provided scientific evidence that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors through the process he called natural selection. The fact that evolution occurs became accepted by the scientific community and the general public in his lifetime, while his theory of natural selec ...more
More about Charles Darwin...
The Origin of Species Voyage of the Beagle The Descent of Man The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809–82 On Natural Selection

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