In Darwin's Shadow : The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History (Google eBook)

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Oxford University Press, Aug 15, 2002 - Science - 448 pages
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Virtually unknown today, Alfred Russel Wallace was the co-discoverer of natural selection with Charles Darwin and an eminent scientist who stood out among his Victorian peers as a man of formidable mind and equally outsized personality. Now Michael Shermer rescues Wallace from the shadow of Darwin in this landmark biography. Here we see Wallace as perhaps the greatest naturalist of his age--spending years in remote jungles, collecting astounding quantities of specimens, writing thoughtfully and with bemused detachment at his reception in places where no white man had ever gone. Here, too, is his supple and forceful intelligence at work, grappling with such arcane problems as the bright coloration of caterpillars, or shaping his 1858 paper on natural selection that prompted Darwin to publish (with Wallace) the first paper outlining the theory of evolution. Shermer also shows that Wallace's self-trained intellect, while powerful, also embraced surprisingly naive ideas, such as his deep interest in the study of spiritual manifestations and seances. Shermer shows that the same iconoclastic outlook that led him to overturn scientific orthodoxy as he worked in relative isolation also led him to embrace irrational beliefs, and thus tarnish his reputation. As author of Why People Believe Weird Things and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, Shermer is an authority on why people embrace the irrational. Now he turns his keen judgment and incisive analysis to Wallace's life and his contradictory beliefs, restoring a leading figure in the rise of modern science to his rightful place.
  

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User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

This autobiography of Alfred Russell Wallace spends a great deal of time on the arrangement that was set up in 1858 by friends of Charles Darwin to retain Darwin's priority in the face of Wallace's ... Read full review

In Darwin's shadow: the life and science of Alfred Russel Wallace: a biographical study on the psychology of history

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Wallace is nearly unknown today, but he was revered as one of the preeminent naturalists of the Victorian age. Accorded the rank of "codiscoverer" of the theory of natural selection (ranking second ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue The Psychology of Biography
3
1 Uncertain Beginnings
33
2 The Evolution of a Naturalist
56
3 Breaching the Walls of the Species Citadel
77
4 The Mystery of Mysteries Solved
108
5 A Gentlemanly Arrangement
128
6 Scientific Heresy and Ideological Murder
151
7 A Scientist Among the Spiritualists
175
10 Heretic Personality
250
11 The Last Great Victorian
271
12 The Life of Wallace and the Nature of History
298
Epilogue Psychobiography and the Science of History
311
Notes
329
Wallace Archival Sources
343
Wallaces Published Works
351
Bibliography
391

8 Heretical Thoughts
202
9 Heretical Culture
225

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About the author (2002)

Michael Shermer is the director of the Skeptics Society and the host of the Skeptics Lecture Series at the California Institute of Technology. He teaches science, technology, and evolutionary thought in the Cultural Studies Program at Occidental College.

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