Stott brings Darwin to life! An extraordinary story, so well crafted it brings a wonderful sense of humanity to the history of science. Primarily, 'Darwin and the Barnacle' brings into focus the central essence of Darwin as a human being. It presents Darwin's raw excitement with life, seemingly ignited while strolling studiously (almost romantically) along the foreshores. Which in turn encouraged him to undertake his famous tour of discovery upon the Beagle.
The sensitivity of the author helped develop in me an understanding of and interest in Charles Darwin as a person. I was moved by learning more about the man and how he lived his life; by the grief he experienced as his beloved daughter died, how his wife and he read to one another, about his ill health, his day to day activities and about his dedication if not dogged determination of his scientific observations.
In reading this book I came to understand how much time and energy Darwin dedicated in undertaking his labourious investigations into barnacles, how this hard work paved the way for honing his monumental work on the 'Origin of the Species'. Yet for me it is not a defence of evolution, but rather its Darwin who is placed under the microscope. It was literally as if Stott breathed life back into Darwin - which suddenly took on more importance than the revolutionary achievements that he is so well regarded for. 'Darwin and the Barnacle' is a great book I only wish I had read this book when I was a geological student.