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Origin of Species 150th Anniversary Edition [ABRIDGED] [Paperback]

Charles Darwin
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 9 2009 0882709194 978-0882709192 150 Anv
Darwin's original work (the Origin of the Species by Mean of Natural Selection) was first published 150 years ago. Ray Comfort's abridged version is being released to coincide with this anniversary, and he has added a special introduction, which provides fascinating information about the history of evolution. Darwin's racism, Darwin's thoughts regarding God, creationism, and many other related topics.

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It's hard to talk about The Origin of Species without making statements that seem overwrought and fulsome. But it's true: this is indeed one of the most important and influential books ever written, and it is one of the very few groundbreaking works of science that is truly readable.

To a certain extent it suffers from the Hamlet problem--it's full of clichés! Or what are now clichés, but which Darwin was the first to pen. Natural selection, variation, the struggle for existence, survival of the fittest: it's all in here.

Darwin's friend and "bulldog" T.H. Huxley said upon reading the Origin, "How extremely stupid of me not to have thought of that." Alfred Russel Wallace had thought of the same theory of evolution Darwin did, but it was Darwin who gathered the mass of supporting evidence--on domestic animals and plants, on variability, on sexual selection, on dispersal--that swept most scientists before it. It's hardly necessary to mention that the book is still controversial: Darwin's remark in his conclusion that "Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history" is surely the pinnacle of British understatement. --Mary Ellen Curtin --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Review

Praise for the hardcover edition:

“The most influential book in science gets a face-lift with some amazing graphics and Quammen's erudite editing.”--Library Journal (The Best Sci-Tech books of 2008)
 
“The perfect way to become acquainted with the authentic voice of the greatest biologist of all time, in a context provided by one of the finest scientific writers of today.”--Gregory A. Petsko, European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Journal
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By mcewin TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've now gone through six of the new editions of Origin of Species that have been released in honor of the 150th anniversary of publication. My recommendations,

1) Harvard "The Annotated Origin", with annotations by James Costa.
This is *the* one to get for the Darwin scholar, and for working biologists. A facsimile of the first edition is printed on facing pages across the center divide, with marginal notes by James Costa keyed on the outside margins. So, you can read the original text without distraction if you wish, and refer to the notes as necessary. The notes are largely historical, and go a long way towards making critical changes in Morse Peckham's variorum edition accessible. As a check, I really enjoyed the annotations to Chapter 4, where CD recaps the argument for and introduces the term Natural Selection. Costa's notes show CD backing away from his forthright statement in the 3rd edition, and the unfortunate introduction of 'survival of the fittest' in the 6th.

I'm compelled to added that this edition reminds me very much of the Harper Collins Study Bible of the New Revised Standard Version, an excellent fully-annotated edition largely free from doctrinal bias. [In YHWH's 2nd edition of the Descent of Man, 'humankind' (adam) is formed from the 'ground' (adamah), and not in the image of YHWH. So there.] However, the notes in HCSB take up the bottom half of the page and the eye must skip up and down, which is a distraction from the left-to-right flow of the text. As so often in the past, Bible scholars could learn a thing or two from Darwin scholars.

2) Harvard facsimile of the first edition.
This is the same facsimile text as above, without the the marginal notations, and in paperback (Harvard publishes both).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By mcewin TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've now gone through six of the new editions of Origin of Species that have been released in honor of the 150th anniversary of publication. My recommendations,

1) Harvard "The Annotated Origin", with annotations by James Costa.
This is *the* one to get for the Darwin scholar, and for working biologists. A facsimile of the first edition is printed on facing pages across the center divide, with marginal notes by James Costa keyed on the outside margins. So, you can read the original text without distraction if you wish, and refer to the notes as necessary. The notes are largely historical, and go a long way towards making critical changes in Morse Peckham's variorum edition accessible. As a check, I really enjoyed the annotations to Chapter 4, where CD recaps the argument for and introduces the term Natural Selection. Costa's notes show CD backing away from his forthright statement in the 3rd edition, and the unfortunate introduction of 'survival of the fittest' in the 6th.

I'm compelled to added that this edition reminds me very much of the Harper Collins Study Bible of the New Revised Standard Version, an excellent fully-annotated edition largely free from doctrinal bias. [In YHWH's 2nd edition of the Descent of Man, 'humankind' (adam) is formed from the 'ground' (adamah), and not in the image of YHWH. So there.] However, the notes in HCSB take up the bottom half of the page and the eye must skip up and down, which is a distraction from the left-to-right flow of the text. As so often in the past, Bible scholars could learn a thing or two from Darwin scholars.

2) Harvard facsimile of the first edition.
This is the same facsimile text as above, without the the marginal notations, and in paperback (Harvard publishes both).
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way more readable than you think ... Dec 30 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
People tend to look at me crazy when I tell them that I've read ORIGIN OF SPECIES. And really, I think we can all see where they are coming from. Nevertheless, being curious, I thought it might be interesting read the book that started all the fuss.
I was surprised to find how readable it really was. Think about this: what we are taught in high school biology is way more than Darwin knew when he wrote this book. Accordingly, the science described in this book is quite easy to understand for anyone who has previously taken a biology class.
Probably the most interesting thing about this book were the few times that Darwin threw in a little philosophical/theological side comment. I'll leave these juicy tidbits for you to find, but look for them as they add a little "kick" to an otherwise fairly "scientific" book. Though a bit lengthy, this accountant enjoyed ORIGIN OF SPECIES.
As a sidenote: I find the funniest thing about those "Jesus fish" eating the "Darwin fish" car decals is that the base idea is that the stronger fish wins- a.k.a. surival of the fittest. The ensuing contradiction of unwittingly using one of Darwin's base tenets to attack Darwinian evolution is priceless.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By mcewin TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
A number of new editions of the Origin have appeared in this the 150th anniversary of first publications. This is a very attractive hard cover edition, as one would expect from Penguin, and might make a good gift for graduating students in biology. The cover art is not particularly apropos, but its a nice binding.

However, the publisher's puff says: "Written for the general public of the 1850s, The Origin of Species ... challenged contemporary beliefs about divine providence and the fixity of species. [Darwin] also set forth the results of his pioneering work on the interdependence of species: The Ecology of Animals and Plants.... William Bynum and Janet Brown will provide a new introduction and full scholarly references."

I would greatly welcome commentary by Ms Brown, author of the leading current biography of Darwin. However, the advertising here is misleading: the "Look Inside" teaser is for the Cambridge U edition, the editor of which is Jim Endersby. This Penguin edition has only an introduction by Mr Bynum, with no mention of Ms Brown.

Concerning the publisher's puff: Coming out in November 1859, the Origin was directed to the scientific community of the 1860s, not the general public, though the latter had ready access through circulating libraries of the day. Darwin did not set out to challenge 'Divine Providence,' but rather to present evidence for his theory of Natural Selection. He certainly did not write about "Ecology" of plants and animals: the word Ecology was not invented until 1879. I hope the publisher has not gleaned these bits from Mr Bynum's commentary, which would raise serious doubt about its value for the general reader.

In general, the best recommendation remains the paperback Harvard University Press facsimile of the first edition, newly reprinted for the 150th and 200th anniversaries. The illustrated facsimile also receives good reviews.
Amazon will want to correct the misleading advertising.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Origin of Species.
This is a nicely bound book, well stitched into the bookbinding, but has one or two drawbacks for me. Read more
Published 4 days ago by E. R. Wootton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
amazing book and cheap!! love it
Published 12 days ago by Chantel Lussier
5.0 out of 5 stars illustrations add amazing value
This book is an amazing revelation on the origin of species and natural selection. The original work of Mr Darwin and original illustrations to accompany the text. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Jonathan Steeves
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid at all costs if you want the real deal.
Ray Comfort stuffs a far too long introduction into the book in the hope of passing on his own message of religion. See [... Read more
Published on March 25 2012 by Antony Burt
3.0 out of 5 stars $135 is too much to pay
This is a massively overpriced edition; the only novelty is the appendices which will not be of value to the general reader.

Save your money. Read more
Published on March 28 2010 by mcewin
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid Ray Comfort Version
It is insulting that a creationist like Ray Comfort would write a negative 50 page introduction filled with assertions rather than facts about this important book. Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2009 by Eric Joly
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid the Ray Comfort issue if you are after a true OotS
RE: the Ray Comfort edition of Origin of the Species ISBN-10 0882709194; ISBN-13 978-0882709192

This is an abridged edition which has a 50 page introdution from... Read more
Published on Oct. 20 2009 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that celebrates the 150TH anniversary of Charles Darwin's...
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"When on board [Her Majesty's Ship] 'Beagle,' as naturalist, I was struck with certain facts in the distribution of the inhabitants [that is, plants and animals]... Read more
Published on March 21 2009 by Stephen Pletko
5.0 out of 5 stars A great edition
This book presents Darwin full text as it appeared in the first edition, which is the best. Indeed, Darwin slightly modified the following editions to make them less shocking for... Read more
Published on Dec 10 2008 by C. Bazinet
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite new book this year
This is the first time I've read Darwin's masterpiece in spite of having a paperback edition for a couple of years. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2008 by Eric Lawton
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