Darwin: A Life in Science
One of the most intriguing aspects of the story that unfolds in these pages is the seeming contradiction between the conventional surface of Charles Darwin's life and the revolutionary implications and effects of theories that placed him in fierce conflict with the scientific community and the religious establishment of his day. An indifferent university student seemingly destined for a career in the Church, he was transformed by a five-year scientific voyage around the world into a totally committed scientist consumed by the question of the history of the earth and the development of life upon it. An eminently respectable Victorian husband and father, plagued by ill health and pained by domestic tragedy, he was drawn step-by-step into painstaking research, and almost against his will into publishing Origin of Species, a book that would earn him both vilification and immortality. An heir to the remarkable independent intellectual tradition of his distinguished family, he was still profoundly discomforted by the censure of a society that forced him to defend his ideas against often vicious attacks. But above all, Charles Darwin was a part of a history of ideas beginning with the ancient Greeks and continuing to the present with the latest breakthroughs in molecular biology.
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