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Darwin's Island: The Galapagos in the Garden of England (Darwin tetralogy #4)

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  132 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published February 1st 2009 by Little Brown and Company (first published 2009)
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DrosoPHila
This the fourth of Steve Jones's series of books based on the works of Charles Darwin. Jones's Almost Like a Whale (1999) having been based on The Origin of Species (1859) which was followed by Y: The Descent of Men (2002), based on Darwin's Descent of Man (1871), and Coral: A Pessimist In Paradise (2008) based on Darwin's work on coral reefs. As with most series, it's probably best to start from the beginning and Whale is also the best of the three.

Darwin's Island is based upon what w
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Elliott Bignell
This book has little, on the face of it, to do with an island in general or Darwin's home island of Great Britain in particular. In fact, it doesn't have that much to do with Darwin either except in that all roads to modern biology pass through Darwin. It is more the geography of an archipelago of sub-disciplines which in aggregate make up the island nation of the modern synthesis.

After a run of exciting science reading, I found this volume a little disappointing. It is packed with knowledge and
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Diya
Jan 17, 2016 Diya rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure, nature
My relationship with all things Science had ended in 2006 after I completed my class 10 exams. So this read was quite out of my "domain" so to speak. But Steve Jones sounds like the kind of professor who would be a brilliant conversationalist at a dinner party. He keeps his sense of humour intact in the most unexpected places. I wish I could take pictures of all the brilliant bits that this book is made of but that won't even begin to cover its whole essence.

I look at flowers, bees, orchids...e
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Suzanna
Aug 07, 2011 Suzanna rated it really liked it
Darwin is most famous for his seminal work On the Origin of Species, and his journey on the Beagle. Upon his return Darwin spent the remainder of his life in England, studying plant and animal life there, eventually paving the way for modern biological study. Jones’ book chronicles these adventures, discussing the questions Darwin asked and the experiments he conducted, and then reviewing the research that has been done since Darwin on the various subjects. He includes diverse topics ranging fro ...more
Heather Mims
Apr 22, 2015 Heather Mims rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-have
This book was a bit different than I was expecting. I assumed it would be more of a direct account of Darwin's explorations beyond Origin of the Species. Instead, it expands on his original ideas, showing how we've evolved in our understanding of genetics thanks to his groundbreaking theories. The book is packed with information, but straightforward and easy to read – no scientific jargon, no tedious academic writing. Well worth the read!
Anes Jakupovic
Feb 10, 2015 Anes Jakupovic rated it really liked it
This book has not only a powerful way of giving insight into Darwin's extraordinary mind and scientific life, but also paints a sketchy portrait of the chaotic and random nature of evolutionary progress, both in living creatures, science, technology etc. It may be boring and repetitive for a professional in the field, but it is certainly an interesting introduction for the vast majority of curious individuals.
The only thing missing is a bit of consistency; there is a perpetual feeling that the w
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Heather Browning
I don't usually think much about how far Darwin's work extended beyond the Origin of Species, but this book covered just that. Each chapter describes and expands on the ideas in one of his other books - works in natural history and evolutionary biology ranging from the effects of inbreeding to the activity of earthworms. Much of it was familiar to me, as it would be to anyone who has studied biology, but it was presented concisely and in simple, descriptive prose. The largest issue was the lack ...more
Mark Jones
Jun 28, 2012 Mark Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It seems to be a common misconception that The Origin of Species is the only book written (or merely the only one of any importance) by Darwin. This book seeks to disillusion the reader that holds this conception; it reads in part like a biography, charting the man's activities and efforts through life, and part like a modern update on his ideas, with the reflections only available from many passing years of scientific advance and insight. The author is profound with an injection of humour - mak ...more
Ellie
Apr 02, 2013 Ellie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written and informative. This opened my eyes to the breadth of Darwin's accomplishments. It was very interesting and kept my attention to the end.

My one qualm would be the use of statistics in a couple of parts seemed to have no continuity. While giving examples there would be a sudden switch between the units e.g. of distance. Since I'm awful at judging measurements in general and even worse at conversion, it felt as though the author might as well be rattling off a shopping list - what s
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Julian Walker
Nov 14, 2014 Julian Walker rated it liked it
Almost everyone has heard of Charles Darwin and knows about his Origin of the Species proposition.

However, in this book, Jones takes us through his slightly more pedestrian life in the English countryside and throws more immediate context to the theory, exploring Darwin’s marriage to his first cousin, and looks at his observations on greenhouse usage, as he applies what he learned on his visit to The Galapagos Islands to the world around him, travelling extensively throughout England.

An intere
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Jim
Nov 20, 2010 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Worthy, worthy, worthy. I wanted to enjoy this, following (another) rave review in the Sunday Times. It promised to throw our eyes open in wonder about how we share ancestry with plants, never mind animals, about why we are the race that we are, and why Darwin was a genius beyond compare. And yes, it was interesting, just not interesting enough to see me come downstairs on a weekend morning and look forward to getting back into the book before the Sunday papers. Good books are few and far betwee ...more
Tanja Berg
Aug 02, 2011 Tanja Berg rated it really liked it
This book explores some of Darwin's lesser known works in the light of today's scientific insights. This in an amazing read for avid readers of popular science and gives many new insights. Particularly in regards to barnacles and orchids. Darwin never stopped asking questions and he explored much the countryside around his home in great detail and published the results. He was much more prolific than is generally known and the works discussed in this book strengthen his arguments in his famous t ...more
Rhys Thomas
Jun 13, 2010 Rhys Thomas rated it it was amazing
Jam-packed to the rafters with interesting facts that you can use to impress your friends, but also a portrait of a genius ahead of his time's conventions. This book examines Darwin's ideas and applies modern science to show just how accurate his findings were.

Fascinating and funny, this book's lead character emerges not only as a ginat intellect but also as a kind and loving man and, therefore, meybe the best person ever.
Lump
Sep 05, 2013 Lump rated it really liked it
Very impressive work. I can't say it was the most captivating book, but an amazing amount of effort must have gone into it, and given the subject matter, I would say he did a fairly good job of making it reachable to the masses. Anyway, I liked it.
Douglas
Apr 12, 2010 Douglas rated it it was amazing
A tremendous book documenting and exploring the books arising from Darwin's fifty years of exploring the biology of his native land with their relevance to the present day and finally with a lament for our current condition.
Julia Beck
Man is the most vicious predator on this planet -- evolution is also the story of extinctions -- to be continued ...
Huw
Jun 23, 2009 Huw rated it liked it
Amazing, although i wasn't sure why the giraffe HAD to eat the friendly hippo in the last chapter.
Welton Rodrigo Nascimento
Dec 10, 2012 Welton Rodrigo Nascimento rated it it was amazing
This book changed the way I see the world,
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John Stephen Jones is a Welsh geneticist and from 1995 to 1999 and 2008 to June 2010 was Head of the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London. His studies are conducted in the Galton Laboratory. He is also a television presenter and a prize-winning author on the subject of biology, especially evolution. He is one of the contemporary popular writers on evolutio ...more
More about Steve Jones...

Other Books in the Series

Darwin tetralogy (4 books)
  • Darwin's Ghost: The Origin of Species Updated
  • Y: The Descent of Men
  • Coral: A Pessimist In Paradise

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