Darwin's ghosts : the secret history of evolution

Book Cover
Average Rating
New York : Spiegel & Grau, 2013, c2012.
2013 Spiegel & Grau trade pbk. ed.
Physical Desc:
xviii, 402 pages : ill. ; 21 cm.
Hillsboro High - Teen Non-Fiction
576.82 Sto
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK "[An] extraordinarily wide-ranging and engaging book [about] the men who shaped the work of Charles Darwin . . . a book that enriches our understanding of how the struggle to think new thoughts is shared across time and space and people."-- The Sunday Telegraph (London) Christmas, 1859. Just one month after the publication of On the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin received an unsettling letter. He had expected criticism; in fact, letters were arriving daily, most expressing outrage and accusations of heresy. But this letter was different. It accused him of failing to acknowledge his predecessors, of taking credit for a theory that had already been discovered by others. Darwin realized that he had made an error in omitting from Origin of Species any mention of his intellectual forebears. Yet when he tried to trace all of the natural philosophers who had laid the groundwork for his theory, he found that history had already forgotten many of them. Darwin's Ghosts tells the story of the collective discovery of evolution, from Aristotle, walking the shores of Lesbos with his pupils, to Al-Jahiz, an Arab writer in the first century, from Leonardo da Vinci, searching for fossils in the mine shafts of the Tuscan hills, to Denis Diderot in Paris, exploring the origins of species while under the surveillance of the secret police, and the brilliant naturalists of the Jardin de Plantes, finding evidence for evolutionary change in the natural history collections stolen during the Napoleonic wars. Evolution was not discovered single-handedly, Rebecca Stott argues, contrary to what has become standard lore, but is an idea that emerged over many centuries, advanced by daring individuals across the globe who had the imagination to speculate on nature's extraordinary ways, and who had the courage to articulate such speculations at a time when to do so was often considered heresy. With each chapter focusing on an early evolutionary thinker, Darwin's Ghosts is a fascinating account of a diverse group of individuals who, despite the very real dangers of challenging a system in which everything was presumed to have been created perfectly by God, felt compelled to understand where we came from. Ultimately, Stott demonstrates, ideas--including evolution itself--evolve just as animals and plants do, by intermingling, toppling weaker notions, and developing over stretches of time . Darwin's Ghosts presents a groundbreaking new theory of an idea that has changed our very understanding of who we are. Praise for Darwin's Ghosts "Absorbing . . . Stott captures the breathless excitement of an investigation on the cusp of the unknown. . . . A lively, original book." -- The New York Times Book Review "Stott's research is broad and unerring; her book is wonderful. . . . An exhilarating romp through 2,000 years of fascinating scientific history." -- Nature "Stott brings Darwin himself to life. . . . [She] writes with a novelist's flair. . . . Darwin and the 'ghosts' so richly described in Ms. Stott's enjoyable book are the descendants of Aristotle and Bacon and the ancestors of today's scientists." -- The Wall Street Journal "Riveting . . . Stott has done a wonderful job in showing just how many extraordinary people had speculated on where we came from before the great theorist dispelled all doubts." -- The Guardian (U.K.)
Also in This Series
Call Number
Hillsboro High - Teen Non-Fiction
576.82 Sto
On Shelf
More Like This
Other Editions and Formats
More Details
9780812981704 (pbk.), 0812981707 (pbk.)


Includes bibliographical references and index.
Reviews from GoodReads
Loading GoodReads Reviews.

No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!

APA Citation (style guide)

Stott, R. (20132012). Darwin's ghosts: the secret history of evolution. 2013 Spiegel & Grau trade pbk. ed. New York: Spiegel & Grau.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Stott, Rebecca. 20132012. Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution. New York: Spiegel & Grau.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Stott, Rebecca, Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 20132012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Stott, Rebecca. Darwin's Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution. 2013 Spiegel & Grau trade pbk. ed. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 20132012. Print.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
Staff View
Grouped Work ID:
Go To GroupedWorkView in Staff Client
Last File Modification TimeJan 12, 2018 12:12:01 AM
Last Grouped Work Modification TimeFeb 17, 2020 10:42:58 PM

MARC Record

LEADER01720cam a2200325Ia 4500
008130307t20132012nyua     b    001 0deng d
040 |a JAI|c JAI|d IGP|d YDXCP|d KSU|d BTCTA
019 |a 811007075
020 |a 9780812981704 (pbk.)
020 |a 0812981707 (pbk.)
035 |a (OCoLC)829315964
050 4|a QH361|b .S76 2013
082 |a 576.82
092 |a 576.82 Sto
1001 |a Stott, Rebecca.
24510|a Darwin's ghosts :|b the secret history of evolution /|c Rebecca Stott.
250 |a 2013 Spiegel & Grau trade pbk. ed.
260 |a New York :|b Spiegel & Grau,|c 2013, c2012.
300 |a xviii, 402 p. :|b ill. ;|c 21 cm.
504 |a Includes bibliographical references and index.
5050 |a Darwin's List, Kent, 1859 -- Aristotle's Eyes, Lesbos, 344 BC -- The Worshipful Curiosity of Jahiz, Basra and Baghdad, 850 -- Leonardo and the Potter, Milan, 1493; Paris, 1570 -- Trembley's Polyp, The Hague, 1740 -- The Consul of Cairo, Cairo, 1708 -- The Hotel of the Philosophers, Paris, 1749 -- Erasmus Underground, Derbyshire, 1767 -- The Jardin des Plantes, Paris, 1800 -- The Sponge Philosopher, Edinburgh, 1826 -- The Encyclopaedist, Edinburgh, 1844 -- Alfred Wallace's Fevered Dreams, Malay Archipelago, 1858 -- Epilogue -- Appendix: Darwin's "Historical Sketch."
650 0|a Evolution (Biology)|x History.
60010|a Darwin, Charles,|d 1809-1882.|t On the origin of species.
898 |a qBook
898 |a qEnglish
910 |a CARL0000708891
949 |b QQ00291904|c 576.82 Sto|h 66435|j 66435|l YNF|m SBK|s S|p 17.00|w 0|x 20180110|t 20180111|q LDR|r LDR|v 0|y 20180110|z 1
998 4|a LDR0905 20180110082129 MNPS |b LDR0905 20180110082129 MNPS