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Mein Leben 1809 1882
Charles Darwin
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Mein Leben 1809 1882

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,188 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
Charles Darwin's Autobiography was first published in 1887, five years after his death. It was a bowdlerized edition: Darwin's family, attempting to protect his posthumous reputation, had deleted all the passages they considered too personal or controversial. The present complete edition did not appear until 1959, one hundred years after the publication of The Origin of Sp ...more
Published August 13th 2008 by Insel (Frankfurt) (first published 1887)
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Feb 14, 2010 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Darwin, Charles. THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN 1809-1882. (1958; this ed. 2008). This is a relatively short autobiography that Darwin wrote for the benefit of his children, so that they would have some idea of who he was and what his antecedents were when he was gone from this earth. He spends most of his time talking about his years growing up and going to school. He also hits heavily on his turn from formal religion to atheism as he grew older. It is interesting how during his training f ...more
Erik Graff
Jan 22, 2013 Erik Graff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Erik by: Bill Ellos
Shelves: biography
One of the best ways to disarm critics of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection would be to get them to read his posthumous autobiography, originally edited by his son, then rereleased in an unexpurgated version by his granddaughter. Whatever one might believe about the bible, or punctuated equilibrium for that matter, one cannot read this memoir without coming to like this man. This was, after all, a fellow who dug an enormous hole in order to calculate earthworm distributions under ...more
Here Darwin's reflections on life is what I think is the most valuable part of this book. It's easy to tell that he had his children in mind while writing it, and actually that gives it a somewhat poignant feeling ~ probably also why it's so short and concise. The following is my favourite quote:

"My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the high
May 03, 2016 Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this work very interesting and charming, but as I read it I kept thinking if I were not a huge fan of the author and his life's achievements, this book would be colossally boring.
So I am happy to give it 4 stars, but if Charles Darwin is not a great man for you, then this would not be a good book for you.
I rate Charles Darwin as one of the two greatest men who has ever lived, along with Abraham Lincoln. I never get over the incredible coincidence that these two greatest of men were born
Jan 06, 2016 Andrés rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hace tiempo asistí a una exposición sobre la vida y obra de Darwin, y quedé con deseos de enterarme de primera mano sobre el proceso que lo llevó a formular sus ideas. Desafortunadamente, el libro es muuuuuy corto, y el periodo que todos supondríamos más interesante (el viaje en el Beagle, claro) nomás llega y se va.
En una parte habla sobre sus gustos literarios y menciona que, para él, ninguna novela puede considerarse "buena" si no tiene al menos un personaje que puedas amar completamente. De
Qui n'a jamais été fasciné par l'évolution de la nature? Qui ne s'est jamais posé de questions sur les végétaux, les animaux, les minéraux, la Terre? Charles Darwin est l'une des étapes qui me semble indispensable dans cette quête de l'observation du monde. Quoiqu'on puisse penser de ses théories.
Ceci est donc son autobiographie, écrite à la toute fin de sa vie. L'avantage de l'édition empruntée, est qu'elle met en couleur différente les corrections du manuscrit apporté par sa femme, Emma Darwi
Dec 20, 2013 Armin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading the 'Autobiography of Charles Darwin' a few minutes ago. Darwin portrays himself as an ordinary man with an extraordinary zeal for science. As he put it,

"My chief enjoyment and sole employment throughout life has been scientific work; and the excitement from such work makes me for the time forget, or drives quite away, my daily discomfort."

Darwin was a humble, mild-mannered Englishman whose great power of observation and critical analysis revolutionised our view of the wo
Apr 25, 2013 Bjorn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk
When Darwin sat down to write his autobiography - more for his children's sakes than because he thought anyone outside his immediate family would be interested - he was 67 years old. He had travelled around the world, he had met the elite of 19th century English thinkers, he had published a number of books including at least two which would still be widely read 150 years later, and revolutionised the field of science in general and biology in particular.

After all this, he managed 120 pages of au
Feisty Harriet
I kind of have a thing for Charles Darwin, so it was inevitable that I would want to read his autobiography. I loved reading his own words and some of his own thoughts on science, evolution, his friends, family, and slavery (he was adamantly anti-slavery). That being said, this autobiography was written by Darwin, exclusively for his children and grand-children. And as such, it doesn't cover much of his life, especially when compared to the 1200 page, 2-part biography by Janet Browne that I read ...more
Jun 30, 2011 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I'm a bit fascinated by Darwin, though most of the interest in this is that it is what he himself chose to record for his descendants. It doesn't cover the Beagle voyage, as those journals were published elsewhere, so it's a rather general account of his growing up and his life upon return from his voyage. It gives a good sense of the man though, and the appendices are truly brilliant. Not so much the letters surrounding the ridiculously blown-up spat between himself and Samuel Butler, but the v ...more
Charlene Lewis- Estornell
It should be essential for anyone who has ever heard someone say, "Darwin said (insert Darwinism here)" to read not only Origin of Species but what Darwin thought of his life and work, in his own words.

This is possibly one of the best books I have ever read. Darwin's ability to self reflect is unmatched by anyone I have read to date. What a treat it is to be allowed to travel through the mind of a humble, compassionate, genius or a man who wrote with his whole heart. This book was originally in
Bcoghill Coghill
A nice biography but lacks the insights we would like from such a genius, a man who changed the world. He did have a charming modesty and I think was likable fellow.
I wonder what he would have been like in the day of modern science. Probably, he would still be outstanding.
Feb 04, 2016 Kasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Czuję ogromny niedosyt. Karol powinienbył spędzić nad autobiografią więcej niż "godzinę dziennie"...
Aug 02, 2011 Caiti rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great little book to aid my quest to learn a bit about Charles Darwin.

Darwin's actual autobiography is pretty short and makes up only half of the volume. Not a riveting autobiography, but his rambles were pleasant enough, and there were a couple amusing anecdotes. I enjoyed it.

The remaining half is mostly devoted to letters and articles about some controversy between Darwin and Butler which I had absolutely no interest in, and the rest are a couple of Darwin's personal notes, which wa
Rohit Amberker
Jul 24, 2015 Rohit Amberker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A humbling read

It was a real pleasure to read this book. It truly felt like the legend himself in his frail voice is narrating his life story. It's a very short book and it talks to the ingenuity of Charles Darwin to deliver the message in a most concise manner. A lot to learn in this book and it left me humbled. LOVED IT!!!
Nicholas Maulucci
well, I learned that Darwin was an avid hunter for a good portion of his life. not a hunter for sustenance necessarily, but for the sport of it. he killed hundreds if not thousands of birds by his own admission. the last line in this autobiography states something like, I am surprised that so many scientists have been so moved by my writings who am one not so gifted. and from his own account, Darwin seemed to be somewhat average in many respects. an overall boring book, typical of England and th ...more
Mar 24, 2016 Danny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book of tremendous charm. Darwin wrote this toward the end of his life for his children's perusal. He speaks lovingly of his father, who had a talent for winning others' confidence and had remarkable powers of observation. The sketches of his adolescence collecting beetles and shooting an idling away in Cambridge were very endearing. His character sketches of FitzRoy and his scientific acquaintances are especially delightful. Darwin characterizes his religious stance as agnostic, describing th ...more
Jan 02, 2015 Elisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Honest, humble, and introspective, this short autobiography by Darwin was meant for his family'e eyes only but the really personal stuff was cut out.

Some may say that his humility is false but I admire his ability to see himself from the outside and admire those of his qualities which he enjoys most and which gave him the opportunity to observe, analyze, and ultimately expose one of natural science's greatest discoveries.

He gives a short account of his voyage on the "Beagle" and some thoughts o
Mar 10, 2009 Peregrino rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Autobiografía redactada sin ninguna pretensión literaria, tal y como el autor aclara en sus primeras líneas. Se trata de un conjunto de recuerdos, más o menos organizados, que Darwin escribe para el recuerdo por parte de sus hijos. de esta manera, el autor de "El origen de las Especies" nos traza un recorrido de su vida, deteniéndose más en sus años mozos que, por ejemplo, en la más atractiva aventura del Beagle. Consigue describirnos un personaje de lo más gris, tímido, introvertido y poco atra ...more
Katya Epstein
Jul 26, 2011 Katya Epstein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Origin of Species I decided that I adore Charles Darwin, and after reading his autobiography, I adore him more. I doubt there have been many others so insightful and honest, so capable of seeing clearly what is in front of them, unclouded by outside opinion or preconception. He was apparently renowned for being humble and charming, and he certainly comes across that way here.
That said, this is not riveting read. It was published posthumously, edited by his son and later his grandda
Ethan D.
THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN is more a compilation of various texts written by Darwin that a formal autobiography. The book dwells on his early life through his research voyages on The Beagle and some years that follow as well as his reflections. Even without the full intention of writing an autobiography, Darwin wrote to successfully document early life from his adulthood.The editor added these later entries in with journal notes made from his journey with The Beagle, which later resulte ...more
Es un libro interesante sobre algunas cuestiones mas que todo referenciales acerca de la vida y obra de Darwin, cortos pasajes sobre su niñez, sus amigos, su trabajo y algunos otros echos importantes en su vida. Escrito para sus hijos ya que (en sus palabras) le hubiese gustado poder leer un recuento de echos sobre la vida de su abuelo por él mismo. Está edición es completa ya que las pasadas tienen varias omisiones intencionadas echas por sus familiares debido a algunas declaraciones que podían ...more
May 11, 2008 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This very short volume is not so compelling as a thrilling read, but I actually did it enjoy it, as it helped to contextualize Darwin's life and career. What we are introduced to is a very ordinary person--the child of a wealthy doctor, a mediocre student, and a spoiled young man more invested in riding to the hunt than in pursuing a meaningful profession. Then, however, he discovers a passion...collecting beetles, which leads to a lifelong obsession with entomology, zoology, botany, and geology ...more
Feb 21, 2016 Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: darwin
This autobiography was put together by Francis Darwin (one of Darwin's sons) from a collection that Charles Darwin left his family. Francis edited this collection and then added some further chapters with his commentary including notes regarding particular letters, people, and his own memory. Despite what Francis may have omitted, the autobiography and additional chapters are quite interesting and further place Charles Darwin as a personage in his own time, amongst his fellows.
Dec 22, 2010 Tyler rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Synopsis: Charles Darwin wrote his autobiography throughout the later years of his life. He intended it to be solely for his children, but his son first published the autobiography in 1887 (with most of the personal details omitted - which have now since been included). Darwin writes about his early life, school years and published works, spending very little on information about his family or other personal topics.

My Review: Very few books take me this long to read (4 weeks or so). Alison's had
Apr 12, 2013 Aurelien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Darwin portrays here himself in a short and humble autobiography, in fact not even intended to be published but, written above all for the sole benefits of his descendants.

We learn about his childhood's interest in (already!) insects, the authoritative figure of his father, and his calling as a clergyman up to the crucial turn in his life: the journey onboard the HMS Beagle. He then moves on to talk about his career and the social prestige he benefited, describing some high intellectual figures
Apr 13, 2015 Nemanja rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great way to get to know the man behind The origin of species and so much more. .. True to his own style, the first part that he wrote to his children was a bit hard to read, like a catalog of events with just a touch of personnel... On the other hand the testimony of his son gave us more on Darwin's personal life and his ways... enjoyed every minute reading it
Feb 14, 2014 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Darwin comes across as a humane, moral and humorous man. Not entirely sure why that surprised me. The high point was his story of the French phrenologist who asked for his photograph, which he duly sent. A note was returned stating that he had a skull worth ten clerics. Apparently there's some sort of bump that indicates a proclivity for pastoring.
Mel Bossa
Very interesting read. I especially enjoyed the fact that Darwin wasn't too great in school but ended up doing fantastic things. Passion and imagination and curiosity were really his motors...

I wish there would have been more details about his voyage through the Galapagos Islands, and I guess I'll have to read the Beagle book for that.

The one thing I came away with: Darwin believed that happiness was our natural state and the proof was in the many ways we seek out anything that gives us pleasure
Apr 10, 2016 Bookjunk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-april
I think the autobiography gives a good idea of what Darwin was like as a person. Unfortunately, he doesn't appear to have been a particularly discerning writer, since this autobiography seems to be comprised of anecdotes of varying relevance. Still, a nice insight into Darwin's methodology and life.
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Evolution extending further...... 1 1 May 16, 2015 11:52AM  
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  • On the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals
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  • What Have You Changed Your Mind About?: Today's Leading Minds Rethink Everything
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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
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“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” 2496 likes
“...Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers... for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality... But I had gradually come by this time, i.e., 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow at sign, &c., &c., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian.

...By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported, (and that the more we know of the fixed laws of nature the more incredible do miracles become), that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost uncomprehensible by us, that the Gospels cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events, that they differ in many important details, far too important, as it seemed to me, to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eyewitnesses; by such reflections as these, which I give not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire had some weight with me. Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can be hardly denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation which we now put on metaphors and allegories.

But I was very unwilling to give up my belief... Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all of my friends, will be everlastingly punished.

And this is a damnable doctrine.”
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