The Lying Stones of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History
"I have struggled, harder and more explicitly than for anything else in my life as a writer, to develop a distinctive and personal form of essay to treat great scientific issues in the context of biography -and to do so not by the factual chronology of a life's sorrows and accomplishments (a noble task requiring the amplitude of a full book), but rather by the intellectual synergy between a person and the controlling idea of his life. From the Preface. Stephen Jay Gould's writing remains the modern standard by which popular science writing is judged. Ever since the late 1970's, his monthly essay in NATURAL HISTORY and his full-length books have bridged the yawning gap between science and wider culture. In this fascinating new collection of essays, Gould has once again applied biographical perspectives to the illumination of key scientific concepts and their history, ranging from the origins of palaeontology to modern eugenics and generic engineering. As always, these essays brilliantly display his gift for colloquial and vivid explanation and include fascinating oddities from the natural world and the printed world."