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I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History (Reflections in Natural History #10)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  376 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Here is bestselling scientist Stephen Jay Gould's tenth and final collection based on his remarkable series for Natural History magazine--exactly 300 consecutive essays, with never a month missed, published from 1974 to 2001. Both an intellectually thrilling journey into the nature of scientific discovery and the most personal book he has ever published, I Have Landed mark ...more
Paperback, 417 pages
Published April 22nd 2003 by Three Rivers Press (CA) (first published 2002)
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Dec 09, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: science
Why Not in Wonderland?

Once again, I have taken up a book of Stephen Jay Gould's essays. There is no doubt that he was one of the best essayists of our times, writing with humor, intelligence and feeling, But there is one theme that comes up far too often in his later essays to be ignored. This theme is best summarized in his own words: "these two great tools of human understanding [science and religion] operate in a complementary (not contrary) fashion in their totally separate realms: science a
Jan 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoy reading Gould, and respect his efforts to avoid "dumbing down" and oversimplifying discussions in his essays ... but I do believe his description of himself as a "street kid" is fairly silly, and he does insist on it so in this collection. This was one of those books which I could not resist arguing with the author in pencil in the margins.
Abhishek Upadhayay
Nov 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was first of its kind on my reading shelve. Extremely difficult to swallow in the beginning and to adjust to author's style of writing. Recommended only if you are interested in natural history.
Juanita Rice
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, science
Numerologists would boggle at this book’s various numerical coincidences, as does Gould himself. First, as the title suggests, this is the last of his books of essays from the journal Natural History. It is also neatly the tenth such book. Moreover, there were exactly 300 such essays, one published in every issue for 30 years, with not "one missed," as Gould says, “despite cancer, hell, high water or the World Series.” There is also a quarter-century between his first popular book and first scie ...more
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
The usual mixture of essays. Most of them connected in one way or another to Darwin. He mentions that Origin was published in 1859 probably around 50 times. Some personal stuff, like the title about his grandfather arriving in America on 9/11 in 1901. And about the other event 100 years later.
One about Nabokov, arguing that he would have been or was a scientist that surpasses his fame as a novelist. I liked the essay about the only guy present at Marx’ funeral who was not a socialist but a firm
Mónica Mar
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
La ciencia se inmiscuye en todos los resquicios de nuestras vidas: la luz que incide en la retina; el impacto de un libro contra el suelo; el hierro en la sangre y el calcio en los huesos, todo, todo tiene una explicación, aun cuando no un propósito. Incluso la religión es una especie de tótem opuesto a ese pulpo inconmensurable que es la ciencia, un tótem más macizo para unos, más endeble para otros. Y pese a la universalidad de la ciencia, no todos tenemos las aptitudes para ser científicos. Y ...more
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
This is the tenth and final collection of essays from Stephen Jay Gould, with most of these essays coming from his regular monthly essay in Natural History magazine. And I am quite sorry that I have read all of the collections, for that means an era has ended in my reading life. But these essays in this current volume, most having to do with some aspect of natural history and / or evolution, are very good, and in some cases, very personal; and I recommend this book without reservation.

The title
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthologies
Not for the faint of heart: these assorted short essays explore a variety of scientific and ethical topics. Gould liked to use simultaneous stories from two or more seemingly unrelated fields to explore deeper truths common to both. The book begins with the coincidence that his grandfather landed in the United States on 9/11/1901, exactly 100 years prior to the horrendous attack on the Twin Towers.

Gould defends the tedious rigors of biological taxonomy and its contribution to the advancement of
May 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
I feel guilty for not liking this book. Stephen Jay Gould is brilliant and well-read and well-spoken and highly respected in both his field and as a popular essayist. But I hate this book. There's hardly an essay therein that I was able to read in its entirety. Gould is much too long-winded; couple that with a fascination for minutia and obscure historical subjects, and your eyes glaze over and you find yourself skipping to every third word (then every other paragraph, then conclusion). And fran ...more
Alex Lee
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Like many people, I am an admirer of Stephen Jay Gould. This collection of essays, like many of his works is full of wonder, passion and consideration. He explores many topics, researches into the history of things to show how ideas change -- and like the slow movement of geological time, so with the generations do our ideas change too. Gould muses on them, reflects on them and often presents how he thinks we can do better.

There isn't much overarching philosophy here. Gould is pretty focused on
Feb 28, 2016 rated it liked it
I loved the ideas and content of the essays, as well as the so many facts and observations enriching them and the so many relations presented between science and many other fields (arts, history, anthropology...), but found Gould's writing quite dense, quite often. So, despite loving the content, I didn't enjoyed the whole reading process as much, which resulted in turn in a long procrastination to finish the book.
The book is divided into 9 sections, throughout most of which (but not in all) ev
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I don't think I would have found this book as fascinating if the author were not such a skilled writer. I think I said this in my last review, but he has to have been the most well-rounded man on the planet. He has such a wide range of knowledge: science, of course, Russian literature, landscaping, baseball, Gilbert and Sullivan, the Alamo, etc. He is my new answer to the question, "If you could invite one person, living or dead, to dinner who would it be?" And his essays on September 11, where ...more
S.J. Gould e` come sempre pomposo, ma questa volta meno interessante del solito. Preferisco le altre raccolte dei suoi saggi. Adoro le microstorie, ma qui sono farcite di correlazioni non sempre rilevanti: si ha l'impressione (piu' che in altri suoi saggi) di un gratuito sfoggio di compiaciuta erudizione. Interessante la nozione che Freud avrebbe basato parte delle sue teorie sull'assunto, allora in voga (e poi rivelatosi infondato e assolutamente erroneo) che l'ontogenesi ricapitoli la filogene ...more
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
It was with bittersweetness that I read Gould's final collection of Natural History essays. I started with his first, Ever Since Darwin, and read every collection. I learned a great deal about evolution and natural history. It instilled a love for the genre and I've gone on to read other authors in the field, Sean Carroll and Neil Shubin come to mind.

Gould and Sagan were two of the giants popularizing science when I was growing up. We will not see their like again, but we do see variations on a
May 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all those who wonder
A beautiful collection of Gould's writing. Been thinking a lot about wonder recently, and think that he does a phenomenal job of conveying his own sense of wonder and inspiring others to ponder the world about them as well. Especially liked the essay on Nabokov and conventions and Gilbert and Sullivan and Karl Marx's connection with Darwinism and well, pretty much all of them. Since the book is a collection of articles, it's easy to read them one at a time, in no particular order. And where you ...more
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was ok
Dikasih sama Pius. Esai-esai tentang evolusi. Nggak gitu asyik, tapi ada satu tulisan tentang kehadiran seorang ilmuwan Darwinis pada pemakaman Karl Marx yang hanya dihadiri segelintir orang. Konon, Marx mengirim kopian Das Capital kepada Darwin, malah minta Darwin ikut nulis satu bab, tapi ditolak sama Darwin. Setelah baca di jurnal kiri Inggris, ternyata penulis buku ini termasuk lingkaran akademis Marxis di Inggris. Pantes aja....
May 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What a delight.
My only complaint is the graph on p. 380. That zoomed-in x-axis is just as misleading as all the "bell-curve"-esque osik he's debunking. Was disheartening to see this.

I haven't read any of his essay collections before, only Ontogeny and Phylogeny. But am now even more convinced the world lost Dr. Gould's great mind and spirit far too soon. I will almost certainly be delving into more of his essays.
Apr 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Interesting little tour through Gould’s essays although there was nothing here I strongly connected with. The best was definitely last, “The Great Physiologist of Heidelberg,” on the misguided classifications of race and the consequences of unfortunate ethnocentrism, even by those, like the eponymous Tiedemann, who’ve tried to correct the mistakes.
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Gould's last collection of essays on evolution.
Oct 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Science writing as it should be! Fantastic
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, science
Stephen Jay Gould is fascinating as always.
Josh Paul
Feb 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: essays
Great essays about science for people with no aptitude for science.
Carl Von Clausewitz
Dec 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
He wrote many books and all are magnificent.
Scott Macleod Liddle
Mar 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
fitting summation of some of his most deeply felt essays
Kristen Thiel
Jul 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
great short stories. not saturated with scientific jargon. easy to follow and very interesting.
rated it really liked it
Sep 29, 2007
Jason Minnis
rated it really liked it
Feb 15, 2013
rated it it was ok
Feb 27, 2011
rated it really liked it
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Stephen Jay Gould was a prominent American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation. Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Most of Gould's empirical research was on land snails. Gould
More about Stephen Jay Gould...

Other Books in the Series

Reflections in Natural History (10 books)
  • Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History
  • The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History
  • Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural History
  • The Flamingo's Smile: Reflections in Natural History
  • Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History
  • Eight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History
  • Dinosaur in a Haystack
  • Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms: Essays on Natural History
  • The Lying Stones of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History

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“Bless all the women of this world who nurture our heritage while too many man rush off to kill for ideals that might now be deeply and personally held, but will often be viewed as repugnant by later generations.” 2 likes
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