Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 19 March 2009.
Darwin’s Island is an enthralling book, a wonderful look at Darwin, how England and especially his home in Kent inspired his work. Most valuable is the way Jones has approached his subject, both looking back to Darwin’s discoveries and then taking us forward in time to measure progress and further scientific discoveries. This is Steve Jones’ latest book and if you haven’t read his work, I urge you to plunge in, he’s one of the very best science writers, able to communicate with enthusiasm and clarity, opening up the world of science to the general reader.
The Origin of Species is the most famous book in science but its stature tends to obscure the genius of Charles Darwin's other works. The Beagle voyage, too, occupied only five of the fifty years of his career. He spent only five weeks on the Galapagos and on his return never left Britain again. Darwin wrote six million words, in nineteen books and innumerable letters, on topics as different as dogs, barnacles, insect-eating plants, orchids, earthworms, apes and human emotion. Together, they laid the foundations of modern biology.
In this beautifully written, witty and illuminating book, Steve Jones explores the domestic Darwin, the sage of Kent, and brings his work up to date. Great Britain was Charles Darwin's other island, its countryside as much, or more, a place of discovery than had been the Galapagos. It traces the great naturalist's second journey across its modest landscape: a voyage not of the body but of the mind.
‘Steve Jones who in ALMOST LIKE A WHALE successfully rewrote Darwin in the 21st century, reminds us in DARWIN'S ISLAND that Darwin did actually write 19 other books which are full of insight into the human condition and into the flora and fauna of Britain - hence his title. If you were to read one new book on Darwin this year, this should be it’ Christopher Hudson, DAILY MAIL
About the Author
Steve Jones is Professor of Genetics at University College, London and has worked at universities in the USA, Australia and Africa. He gave the Reith Lectures in 1991 and presented a BBC TV series on human genetics and evolution in 1996. He is a columnist for the Daily Telegraph.
Samuel Johnson, died 1784, in London. His best-known work was published in 1755 after nine years of work. Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language had a far-reaching impact on Modern English.