In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace - A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History by Michael ShermerIn Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace - A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History by Michael Shermer

In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace - A Biographical Study on the…

byMichael Shermer

Hardcover | April 15, 2002

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In Darwin's Shadow is the gripping story of the heretical British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace who co-discovered natural selection independently of his more well-known contemporary Charles Darwin. Utilizing a number of never-before-used archival sources that bring to bear newinterpretations of this most fascinating scientists, best-selling author Michael Shermer applies his training in both the history of science and psychology to reveal the life, science, and personality of Wallace to unravel the mystery of his scientific, quasi-scientific, and non-scientific ideas.Shermer's unique approach goes beyond narrative story-telling to analyse the science, culture, and ideas that lie beneath the life story, in a path-breaking approach to biography. Shermer presents the two major points of intersection and conflict between Wallace and Darwin, one so radical thatDarwin accused his younger colleague of intellectual murder!Wallace has always appealed to lovers of travel and adventure stories, because that is the life he led: In Darwin's Shadow will also appeal to historians of science, readers of popular science, and fans of Shermer's previous books.
Dr Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine, the Director of the Skeptics Society, and a monthly columnist for Scientific American. His latest book is The Borderlands of Science (OUP, 2001), about the fuzzy land between science and pseudoscience. He wrote Denying History, on Holocaust denial and other forms of his...
Title:In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace - A Biographical Study on the…Format:HardcoverDimensions:442 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.34 inPublished:April 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195148304

ISBN - 13:9780195148305

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but with reservations There's a decent biography here, but it is wedged between some tedious exposition on the mechanics of writing history. Shermer goes on at length in both the prologue and epilogue about approaches and methodology for writing 'psychobiography'. These sections are both boring and unnecessary, more suited to a doctoral thesis than a book for general consumption. However, the main portion of the book is a competent exposition of the life of an interesting man. Wallace is portrayed as a heretic personality - a thesis that is well supported by numerous examples of Wallace's support for causes and propositions that were anything but popular. What is most intriguing is that it was that combination of personality characteristics that led Wallace to his insights on the mechanism of natural selection - insights that were developed independently from Darwin. Wallace's predilection for views that were counter to prevailing wisdom also led him to spiritualism and utopian socialism, and his scientific reputation suffered as a result. Wallace comes across as a benevolent, hardworking and intensely curious man whose prolific written output covered a wide range of scientific, social and philosophical topics. This is a worthwhile book if you skip to prologue and epilogue.
Date published: 2010-07-19

Table of Contents

Introduction: Genesis and RevelationPrologue: The Psychology of Biography1. Uncertain Beginnings2. The Evolution of a Naturalist3. Breaching the Walls of the Species Citadel4. The Mystery of Mysteries Solved5. A Gentlemanly Arrangement6. Scientific Heresy and Ideological Murder7. A Scientist Among the Spiritualists8. Heretical Thoughts9. Heretical Culture10. Heretic Personality11. The Last Great Victorian12. The Life of Wallace and the Nature of HistoryEpilogue: Psychobiography and the Science of HistoryAppendix I: EndnotesAppendix II: Biography of Wallace's Archival SourcesAppendix III: Biography of Wallace's Published WorksAppendix IV: General BiographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`clearly written, with perceptive detailed analysis of several key issues in the history of evolution and an excellent bibliography'P. S. Harper, Human Genetics