Portrait of A Genius

Book - 2012
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Darwin{u2019}s revolutionary career is the perfect vehicle for historian Paul Johnson. Marked by the insightful observation, spectacular wit, and highly readable prose for which Johnson is so well regarded, Darwin brings the gentleman-scientist and his times brilliantly into focus. From Darwin{u2019}s birth into great fortune to his voyage aboard the Beagle, to the long-delayed publication of his masterpiece, Johnson delves into what made this Victorian gentleman into a visionary scientist{u2014}and into the tragic flaws that later led Darwin to support the burgeoning eugenics movement.
Publisher: New York : Viking, 2012.
ISBN: 9780670025718
Branch Call Number: DARWIN B
Characteristics: 164 p. ; 24 cm.


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Jun 11, 2014

Might the author have a bias, considering that he also wrote:
“Jesus : a Biography From a Believer” (2010),
“The Quest for God ; a Personal Pilgrimage” (1996) ?
suggested further reading:
“The Reluctant Mr. Darwin : an Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution”
by David Quammen (2006) and
“Darwin : Discovering the Tree of Life”
by Niles Eldredge (2005) ...... and ......
“The Genius of Charles Darwin” DVD 2009
by Richard Dawkins
“Darwin : The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist” ... by Adrian Desmond .. and .James Moore
“Charles Darwin : a Biography, Volume 1 – Voyaging” 1995
"Charles Darwin : a Biography, Volume 2 – The Power of Place” 2003
both by .. Janet Browne ... ( more about Janet Browne ... http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hsdept/bios/browne.html ...)

mmemouse May 17, 2013

In the strictest sense, this little volume [only 164 pages] isn’t really a biography. In the first half of the book, Johnson gives us a close-up of Darwin the scholar, researcher, scientist, and family man. The portrait isn’t entirely favorable. Johnson takes issue with Darwin as a Victorian ‘polymath’, studying various fields of endeavor, but becoming master of few.

By the 2nd half of the book, the reader realizes that Johnson has little sympathy for Darwin’s “loss of religion” and censures him scathingly. Johnson even links Darwin’s theory of evolution to the rise of Social Darwinism, leading into his cousin’s development of the pseudo-science of eugenics. Johnson blames Darwin’s ‘flawed’ theories for many of the 20th century’s social horrors, including Hitler’s program of a master race, Pol Pot’s genocide, Mao Tse-Tung’s rise, Stalin’s purges, and more. NOT recommended by this librarian.

ChristchurchLib Feb 19, 2013

"The author of Socrates: A Man for Our Times presents a richly detailed account of the life and career of the evolutionary scientist that places his achievements against a backdrop of his time and includes coverage of such topics as his voyage aboard the Beagle and the long-delayed publication of Origin of Species." February 2013 Biography and Memoir newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=602836


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