Item description for The Voyage of the Beagle (Adventure Classics) by Charles Darwin...
Recorded during a remarkable five-year voyage throughout South America, these findings became the foundation of naturalist Charles Darwin's revolutionary theory of natural selection. His writing brings to life an exotic world of natural wonders, transporting readers to Chile, Argentina, the Andes Mountains, and finally, the Galapagos Islands, the unique ecosystem that inspired Darwin's groundbreaking work. Darwin's work is as relevant today as it was more than 100 years ago, when he first revealed his revolutionary theory.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.5" Width: 4.75" Height: 7.25" Weight: 1.7 lbs.
Release Date Sep 12, 2006
Publisher White Star
ISBN 8854401765 ISBN13 9788854401761
Availability 0 units.
More About Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin, a Victorian scientist and naturalist, has become one of the most famous figures of science to date. Born in 1809 to an upper-middle-class medical family, he was destined for a career in either medicine or the Anglican Church. However, he never completed his medical education and his future changed entirely in 1831 when he joined HMS Beagle as a self-financing, independent naturalist. On returning to England in 1836 he began to write up his theories and observations which culminated in a series of books, most famously On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859, where he challenged and contradicted contemporary biological and religious beliefs with two decades worth of scientific investigation and theory. Darwin's theory of natural selection is now the most widely accepted scientific model of how species evolve. He died in 1882 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Damien Hirst is an internationally renowned English artist, who has dominated the art scene in England since the 1990s. Known in particular for his series of works on death, Hirst here provides a contemporary, visual take on Darwin's theory of evolution - the struggle between life and death in nature. William Bynum is Professor Emeritus of the History of Medicine at University College, London, and was for many years Head of the Academic Unit of the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine. He edited the scholarly journal Medical History from 1980 to 2001, and his previous publications include Science and the Practice of Medicine in the Nineteenth Century; The Companion Encyclopedia of the History of Medicine (co-edited with Roy Porter); The Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations(with Roy Porter), The Dictionary of Medical Biography (with Helen Bynum), and History of Medicine: A Very Short Introduction. He lives in Suffolk.
Charles Darwin was born in 1809 and died in 1882.
Charles Darwin has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Voyage of the Beagle (Adventure Classics)?
An incredible adventure and a most enjoyable read May 28, 2008
One of the amazing things about the voyage of the Beagle is that Darwin survived it! On the voyage south along the eastern coast of South America and then later on the western coast he would frequently take to the land and meet the Beagle at its next port of call further south or north. He would travel the land hiring gauchos or other guides and horses and mules so that he could study the geology and the flora and fauna. The hardships and dangers he encountered and survived would in some ways put Indiana Jones to shame. In Patagonia amidst the constant gaucho and Indian wars, rife with wanton bloodshed and a kind of genocidal determinism, Darwin rode on horseback and slept on the ground and ate mostly animal flesh of all kinds, including mare's flesh. In Tierra del Fuego the cold and barren lands were enormously forbidding, the inhabitants savage and the dangers very real. One senses in the young Charles Darwin a determination to be the kind of naturalist who leaves no stone unturned, no ridge unclimbed and no species uncollected.
What most surprised me was how well and vibrantly he described the many people he met. Here he speaks of the governor of St. Fe: his "favourite occupation is hunting Indians: a short time since he slaughtered forty-eight, and sold the children at the rate of three or four pounds apiece" (from the entry of Oct 3 and 4, 1832). And here is his description of Queen Pomarre of Tahiti: "The queen is a large awkward woman, without any beauty, grace or dignity. She has only one royal attribute: a perfect immovability of expression under all circumstances" (entry of November 25, 1835). Darwin was quite taken with the Tahitians lauding their sobriety (thanks to the temperance movement of the missionaries) while at the same time bringing a flask of spirits on his travels there. He seemed unaware of any inconsistency.
I was also surprised by Darwin's vigor. I had thought that he was prone to being sickly, and indeed at times, he reports that he was confined to his quarters and that he suffered from seasickness and even homesickness; but when one considers all the miles he travelled on foot, on horseback, and all the mountain peaks he obtained, and the deserts he crossed, the many insects bites he endured, and the hard, cold and wet ground on which he often slept, one has to applaud his strength of body and character. Another surprise was the amount of time he devoted to geology and speculations about the how the land came to be the way he found it. When he spoke of how the land had risen and the mountains formed I had the sense of how thrilled he would have been to have had the modern understanding of plate tectonics.
At a couple of points in the narrative, Darwin speaks of how the most luxurious vegetation does not support the greatest number of animals, or the largest. He compares the plains of Africa and Patagonia with the Brazilian rainforest and speculates on why this should be. At no point does he use the term "grasslands," and so I think we can conclude that he didn't have the knowledge we have today about how fertile grasslands can be, nor did he realize that most of the nutrients in the rain forest are contained within the living plants and organisms above ground leaving the soil relatively poor compared to grassland soil. In the entry for September 15, 1832, he writes: "In grassy plains unoccupied by the larger ruminating quadrupeds, it seems necessary to remove the superfluous vegetation by fire, so as to render the new year's growth serviceable."
Another bit of modern knowledge that would have pleased him to know is that the marine iguanas of the Galapagos Islands cannot just jump into the very cold water that exists there but must warm themselves first, and even then can only stand the water for a limited period of time (an hour or two, I believe). Darwin kept tossing one of the lizards into the water only to watch it return inexplicably again and again to the land.
I was looking for hints that Darwin was already thinking about natural selection, but the text contains nothing that I could find that is directly specific although at one point he refers to the origin of species as that "mystery of mysteries."
The book was written (and obviously rewritten and polished many times over) after Darwin returned to England after comparing notes with other naturalists. The advantage of this approach is the scientific rigor with which he is able to describe and evaluate his experiences. As a professional scientist, Darwin wanted to get all the scientific names right and avoid errors. One would expect through this approach that some immediacy would be lost, but if anything I suspect his journal gained in vividness and was made all the more intriguing for the precision of expression. It is, after all these years, still a most engaging and readable account of a most remarkable adventure--one of the best I've ever read, and I am surprised that it took me so many years to get to it!
The Voyage of the Beagle is also a book that will stay in print for many decades if not centuries to come, partly because it is so well written, and partly because Darwin is Darwin, but also because he was so precise in his descriptions of the animals and the people and the lands that he visited. By reading this we and future generations can learn of the changes that have taken place.
In short I was thoroughly dazzled at Darwin's enormously wide range of knowledge. But I shouldn't have been. In just reading this journal, one can easily see that young Mr. Darwin was already a superb naturalist and a brilliant thinker and observer.
A Passionate Naturalist May 10, 2007
Listening to Charles Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle may have not been the best decision. Darwin tends to describe a lot, and my mind easily wandered as long lists of descriptors made it difficult to understand what exactly Darwin was talking about. Reading the book would probably have given me a greater understanding and increased comprehension of what exactly Darwin studied, saw, and observed. But, one advantage to listening to the Voyage was that the narrator David Case, in a very old English accent, made me feel like Charles Darwin was the one speaking to me in first person. I was many times caught thinking that the narrator really was Darwin himself. Having never listened to an audiobook before, this experience was a lot of fun.
As we all know, in Darwin's voyage around the world, Darwin spent a lot of time studying nature and making very detailed observations - which to the untrained listener - that is me - seem tedious. But Darwin also had many human-to-human interactions with Gauchos in Argentina to governors and generals in South America. Darwin's commentary on his meetings with generals, governors, and commoners was the most interesting part of the audiobook as it gave me a feel for how Darwin felt about others around him. Darwin was definitely a product of Victorian society and thus had very defined views about what is civilized and what is barbaric, but in listening to the audiobook, I found that Darwin was not a racist as much as simply a proponent of his upbringing. To prove my point, I do remember that, at one point, Darwin denounces the practice of slavery.
Darwin's voyage is considered the defining event in his life that ultimately led to the formation of his theory of evolution by natural selection. While this book shows that Darwin's keen sense of observation and later application of his observations were the source of his success, another important aspect of his life can be gained by listening to this book, that Darwin truly had a love for nature. Many of his sketches of animals and beatles are not only detailed but written in an obviously excited state. Darwin had a passion for what he did - a lesson that we all could learn from.
a bit long but supremely entertaining :) May 1, 2007
This was the first book I had ever listened to rather than reading, and it was a great experience. Englishman David Case does a beautiful job narrating Darwin's classic journey. Since the book was compiled from Darwin's field notes and journal entries, I think listening is great because it was written in first-person. So the entire time, you're listening to this distinguished British accent mouthing Darwin's own words. It's hard to listen for any length of time without forgetting that you're not actually listening to Darwin himself.
I found it particularly amusing to listen to Case describe from Darwin's point of view the fascinating maneuvers of dung beetles, his description of the Spanish ladies of Buenos Aires, or the experience of tasting young tortoise soup and other exotic foods. His accounts of gaucho life in Argentina and of sneaking up behind the giant and seemingly deaf Galapagos tortoises were particularly entertaining.
Having been to several parts of South America which were visited on the voyage, I found this book to be really interesting and fun to follow along with. I would really like to visit the Galapagos or Tahiti now. I'm not sure if having visited the places makes the book more enjoyable, or if it's the other way around. I suppose I'll have to find out now. :)
Darwin's Journal Jan 9, 2007
This audio book had an excelent reader, using pretty close to the dialect of the time. Which was good because I was using it for a character reference, playing Darwin in a theater piece. The book it self was a little long and winded. It was truely a journal of his voyage. Don't look for many of his scientific conclusions. For this you would want to get "Origin of the Spieces." It was filled with stories of his adventures and what he came accross on his trip. Good listening material for long driving trips. It was a bit dry for just sitting and listening to, but there were some entertaining parts burried in there.
Darwin emerges as a scientist Jan 31, 2002
This was not the best choice for listening to in the car: too much tedious detail, and I found my mind wandering too often. Still, it was interesting, and I learned a lot.
Darwin was a promising but obscure student at Cambridge when he was suggested for the trip. By the time he returned, his reputation was made. It's not hard to see why: this book is packed with careful observations and attention to detail, as well as thoughtful analyses of topics from species extinction (though not origins at this stage) to the formation of coral atolls. Darwin is clearly very well-read and makes frequent references to the noted authorities of the time, sometimes supporting them and sometimes disagreeing.
I hadn't actually realized that the voyage of the Beagle was as long as it was. I saw it as a year or so, going from England to South America and back again. It was in fact a five-year, round-the-world cruise, covering the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Australia, and numerous other locales as well as the well-known South America and the Galapagos.
My favorite parts are actually the more human anecdotes. Darwin is less than enchanted with New Zealand and Australia, and is not afraid of saying so, noting that most of the citizens are ex-convicts. My favorite single anecdote, though, is about the South American governor who is so dedicated to the rule of law that he has himself put in the stocks when he violates one of his own laws. Darwin also indicates his dislike of slavery and admits to feeling shame when he accidentally causes a male slave to flinch when he makes a threatening gesture to him. So much for that creationist conceit.
There are two appendices not written by Darwin. One is a summary of the orders given to Captain Fitzroy about the mission of the Beagle, which is very telling of the naval issues of the time. It focuses on getting accurate locations of known ports as well as the possible finding of new ones. As a Hornblower fan (and therefore with some interest in naval trivia), I found this very interesting.
The other appendix is Captain Fitzroy's attempt to construe their geological observations to be evidence of the Noachian Deluge. This is not on the same intellectual level as Darwin's writings, and I found it mostly of intellectual interest as evidence that creationist arguments have changed hardly at all in the last 175 years.
All in all, it's an interesting book and a classic of natural history, though not something I'd recommend listening to unless one has a passion for the subject.