Published in: 1859
Edition read: E-book
The classic that exploded into public controversy, revolutionized the course of science, and continues to transform our views of the world.
Few other books have created such a lasting storm of controversy as The Origin of Species. Darwin’s theory that species derive from other species by a gradual evolutionary process and that the average level of each species is heightened by the “survival of the fittest” stirred up popular debate to a fever pitch. Its acceptance revolutionized the course of science.
You know those books you think “oh, I should really read that so I know what I’m talking about”? Yeah, this is one of those books. I should have read it in high school but it was never part of the reading- we learnt the theory of evolution and species, but we never really went back to the original source of all this. In fact, Darwin was barely mentioned during the learning of evolution, the differentiation of species and classifications of animals; let alone the other pioneers of this theory.
Anyways. I expected this to be a hard book to read, full of technical lingo, but it wasn’t. It was easy to read, easy to follow, at some parts it was really interesting. I giggled a lot at Darwin’s fangirling over other authors- “The excellent work of…” “The great book by…” “I am forever grateful for …” etc. While it’s nice he is giving props to those who helped him, it gets a little over-the-top after a while. I also found that the edition I was reading made it difficult for the chapters that refer to a diagram that clearly would have been present in the physical copy but not in the e-book, so I had to kinda imagine it in my head. Those chapters got rather dull as I couldn’t picture A1-M1 splitting into M2 and M4 and so forth. But apart from that, not a bad read.
I certainly feel much more enlightened and informed having read this, although most of the subject was familiar having learnt the theory in school. It seems obvious to us when you read this kind of book that evolution is a thing, that animals have become the way they are through small gradual changes over time, and the identification of species is proof of this- and yet, there are people out there who flat out refuse to believe this information. Read this, and see if you still refuse to believe. Actually, just read this no matter what. It’s a brilliant piece of work that still continues to provoke debate and wonder, a hundred+ years after it was first published. Not many books have that kind of staying power!
On the origin of species rating: 10/10 for a brilliant read, however for entertainment value I gave it a 4/5 on Goodreads, as there was that one chapter I disliked because I didn’t have access to the damn diagram.
Would I re-read it? Look, this is one of those books that you read through once, then you refer back to chapters and passages later on. You don’t really re-read the entire thing, you skim for the parts relevant. In saying that, I had a quick glance through a few chapters before writing this to refamiliarise myself with the way he spoke/get some evidence of his fangirling (hehe) and ended up re-reading passages that were interesting. Sooo… take from that what you will.
Who would I recommend it to? Anyone who hasn’t read the book, read it. Anyone who doesn’t believe in evolution, read the damn freaking book and education yourselves. Anyone curious about this field of study- evolution, species, etc- read the book.
Given the age of this book, you can download a free copy from practically anywhere. So there is no excuse not to do so and to educate yourself!