Three new Darwin books

Here are three new Darwin books to know about:

The Ghost in the Garden: In Search of Darwin’s Lost Garden by Jude Piesse | Publisher’s description: “Darwin never stopped thinking about the garden at his childhood home, The Mount, in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. It was here, under the tutelage of his green-fingered mother and sisters, that he first examined the reproductive life of flowers, collected birds’ eggs, and began the experiments that would lead to his theory of evolution. A century and a half later, with one small child in tow and another on the way, Jude Piesse finds herself living next door to this secret garden. Two acres of the original site remain, now resplendent with overgrown ashes, sycamores, and hollies. The carefully tended beds and circular flower garden are buried under suburban housing; the hothouses where the Darwins and their skillful gardeners grew pineapples are long gone. Walking the pathways with her new baby, Piesse starts to discover what impact the garden and the people who tended it had on Darwin’s work. Blending biography, nature writing, and memoir, The Ghost in the Garden traces the origins of the theory of evolution and uncovers the lost histories that inspired it, ultimately evoking the interconnectedness of all things.” | Amazon

Darwin and His Bears: How Darwin Bear and His Galápagos Islands Inspired a Scientific Revolution by Frank J. Sulloway | Publisher’s description: “When Charles Darwin first stepped off the HMS Beagle and into the harsh and formidable world of the Galápagos islands with their sun-baked lava, spiny cactus, and tangled brushwood, he encountered many birds and animals new to him. He marveled at the remarkable tameness of the birds and the striking dominance of reptiles in these islands, which made the archipelago seem like a journey back in time. On the shoreline were swarms of ‘hideous-looking’ marine iguanas — the world’s only oceangoing lizards. On land, Darwin and the Beagle crew encountered large land iguanas, closely allied to their marine cousin; several smaller lizards and snakes; and giant land tortoises, after which the islands are named. How, Darwin asked himself, had life first come to these islands? Most of the life forms, he noted, were aboriginal creations, found nowhere else. Of all the creatures he encountered, none were as surprising and important to his studies as the Galápagos bears. In Darwin and His Bears, scientist and Darwin scholar Frank J. Sulloway reveals a crucial — yet little known — link that led to Darwin’s development of the theory of evolution: sixteen brilliant bears residing on the sixteen archipelago islands. Charles Darwin had an undeniable knack for asking the right questions, and these remarkable blueberry-loving bears had all the answers he needed. With their invaluable assistance, Darwin was able to reassess his imperfect evidence, ultimately culminating in what we now celebrate as the Darwinian revolution. Delightful and deeply informative, Darwin and His Bears recounts the fabled adventure of Darwin’s groundbreaking visit to ‘a shore fit for Pandemonium,’ as Beagle Captain Robert FitzRoy described the Galápagos on their arrival in 1835. As Sulloway recounts this fascinating story, he also reveals the critical conceptual steps by which Darwin reached his theory of evolution by natural selection — and provides, according to philosopher Philip Kitcher, ‘a brilliant summary and explanation of large swaths of evolutionary theory.’ Ninety charming colorful drawings by the author introduce us to all sixteen whip-smart, magnanimous bears and help bring to life the true story of Darwin’s scientific triumph. Readers of Darwin and His Bears should greatly enjoy what paleontologist and MacArthur ‘genius award’ recipient Jack Horner has dubbed ‘the funnest science book I’ve ever read’.” | Amazon


Etty Darwin and the Four Pebble Problem by Lauren Soloy | Publisher’s description: ” Etty loves make-believe. Her dad loves science. Etty believes in fairies. Her dad would need to see some proof that they exist. But they both love nature, conversation and each other. A gorgeous rumination on belief and imagination featuring Henrietta (Etty) Darwin and her famous father, Charles. Etty went on to become a valued and keen editor of Charles’s work and a thoughtful and intellectual being in her own right. This imagined conversation between Etty and Charles as they stroll around Charles’s real-life ‘thinking track’ explores their close relationship and shows that even science is nothing without an open mind and imagination.” | Amazon

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