The Heretic in Darwin's Court: The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace

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Columbia University Press, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 602 pages
3 Reviews

During their lifetimes, Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin shared credit and fame for the independent and near-simultaneous discovery of natural selection. Together, the two men spearheaded one of the greatest intellectual revolutions in modern history, and their rivalry, usually amicable but occasionally acrimonious, forged modern evolutionary theory. Yet today, few people today know much about Wallace.

The Heretic in Darwin's Court explores the controversial life and scientific contributions of Alfred Russel Wallace -- Victorian traveler, scientist, spiritualist, and co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of natural selection. After examining his early years, the biography turns to Wallace's twelve years of often harrowing travels in the western and eastern tropics, which place him in the pantheon of the greatest explorer-naturalists of the nineteenth century. Tracing step-by-step his discovery of natural selection -- a piece of scientific detective work as revolutionary in its implications as the discovery of the structure of DNA -- the book then follows the remaining fifty years of Wallace's eccentric and entertaining life. In addition to his divergence from Darwin on two fundamental issues -- sexual selection and the origin of the human mind -- he pursued topics that most scientific figures of his day conspicuously avoided, including spiritualism, phrenology, mesmerism, environmentalism, and life on Mars.

Although there may be disagreement about his conclusions, Wallace's intellectual investigations into the origins of life, consciousness, and the universe itself remain some of the most inspired scientific accomplishments in history. This authoritative biography casts new light on the life and work of Alfred Russel Wallace and the importance of his twenty-five-year relationship with Charles Darwin.

  

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The heretic in Darwin's court: the life of Alfred Russel Wallace

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Alfred Russel Wallace is often described as the 19th century's greatest explorer-naturalist, yet few people besides scholars know about him. For 30 years, he and Charles Darwin shared a friendly ... Read full review

Review: The Heretic in Darwin's Court: The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace

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A highly accessible treatment of one of science's most enigmatic figures. Well-researched without being dry, Slotten's biography excels because he writes well and never loses sight of the big picture ... Read full review

Contents

The Struggle for Existence22
22
chapter 3
32
chapter 4
47
chapter 5
63
chapter 6
84
chapter 7
105
chapter 8
141
chapter 9
186
chapter 13
298
chapter 14
326
chapter 15
352
chapter 16
379
chapter 17
401
chapter 18
422
chapter 19
456
chapter 20
477

A Turn Toward the Unknowable225
225
chapter 11
249
chapter 12
280
genealogy of the wallace family494
495
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About the author (2004)

Edward D. berkowitz is professor of history and public policy and public administration at George Washington University. He is the author of eight books and the editor of three collections. During the seventies he served as a staff member of the President's Commission for a National Agenda, helping President Carter plan for a second term that never came to be.

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