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An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist by Richard Dawkins
  

An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist

Biography / Autobiography   

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The first of a two volume autobiography taking the reader from Richard Dawkins’ childhood through to the publication of his first book The Selfish Gene in 1976. An autobiography long on intellect and science but short on heart - but if you’re more interested in the development of a scientist it’s an educational and absorbing read.

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Synopsis

An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist by Richard Dawkins

Born to parents who were enthusiastic naturalists, and linked through his wider family to a clutch of accomplished scientists, Richard Dawkins was bound to have biology in his genes. But what were the influences that shaped his life and intellectual development? And who inspired him to become the pioneering scientist and public thinker now famous (and infamous to some) around the world? In An Appetite for Wonder we join him on a personal journey back to an enchanting childhood in colonial Africa. There the exotic natural world was his constant companion. Boarding school in England at the age of eight, and, later, public school at Oundle introduce Dawkins, and the reader, to strange rules and eccentric schoolmasters, vividly described with both humorous affection and some reservation. An initial fervent attachment to Church of England religion soon gives way to disaffection and, later, teenage rebellion. Early signs of a preference for music, poetry and reading over practical matters become apparent as he recalls the opportunities that entered his small world. Oxford, however, is the catalyst to his life. Vigorous debate in the dynamic Zoology Department unleashes his innate intellectual curiosity, and inspirational mentors together with his own creative thinking ignite the spark that results in his radical new vision of Darwinism, The Selfish Gene. From innocent child to charismatic world-famous scientist, Richard Dawkins paints a colourful, richly textured canvas of his early life. Honest self-reflection and witty anecdotes are interspersed with touching reminiscences of his family and friends, literature, poetry and songs. We are finally able to understand the private influences that shaped the public man who, more than anyone else in his generation, explained our own origins.

Reviews

'Most geeks cannot write; this one can... Equipped with an undoubted gift for expression, Dawkins the writer comes with a unique pedigree' -- Richard Fortey, Guardian

'The Richard Dawkins that emerges here is a far cry from the strident, abrasive caricature beloved of lazy journalists with an op-ed piece to file. There is no score-settling, but a generous appreciation and admiration of the qualities of others, as well as a transparent love of life, literature - and science.' Independent on Sunday

'Dawkins is a fascinating man and as a writer he is nothing less than essential... he is a man who has influenced or changed the way people think. His story needs to be read.' Simon Barnes, The Times

'Lyrical... brilliant... Dawkins' style [is] clear and elegant' Financial Times

'Throughout and as usual, Dawkins's writing is graceful, sparkling with anecdotes and wit' Eugenie Scott, Nature

About the Author

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins's phenomenal bestseller The God Delusion has become an iconic book for our time. He was first catapulted to fame with The Selfish Gene, which he followed with a string of bestselling books: The Extended Phenotype, The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, The Ancestor's Tale and a collection of his shorter writings, A Devil's Chaplain.

Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the Royal Society of Literature Award (1987), the Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society (1990), the International Cosmos Prize for Achievement in Human Science (1997), the Kistler Prize (2001), the Shakespeare Prize (2005), the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science (2006) and the Galaxy British Book Awards Author of the Year Award (2007).He retired from his position as the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University in 2008 and remains a fellow of New College.

In 2008 Channel 4 broadcast a three-part television series, The Genius of Charles Darwin, written and presented by Richard Dawkins, examining the legacy of the great scientist and some of the issues covered in Dawkins's new book, The Greatest Show on Earth.

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Book Info

Publication date

30th November 1999

Author

Richard Dawkins

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Author's Website

www.richarddawkins.net/

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Publisher

Format

Hardback

Categories

Biography / Autobiography


ISBN

9780593070895

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