In Darwin's Shadow : The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History
Virtually unknown today, Alfred Russel Wallace was the co-discoverer of natural selection with Charles Darwin and an eminent scientist who stood out among his Victorian peers as a man of formidable mind and equally outsized personality. Now Michael Shermer rescues Wallace from the shadow of Darwin in this landmark biography. Here we see Wallace as perhaps the greatest naturalist of his age--spending years in remote jungles, collecting astounding quantities of specimens, writing thoughtfully and with bemused detachment at his reception in places where no white man had ever gone. Here, too, is his supple and forceful intelligence at work, grappling with such arcane problems as the bright coloration of caterpillars, or shaping his 1858 paper on natural selection that prompted Darwin to publish (with Wallace) the first paper outlining the theory of evolution. Shermer also shows that Wallace's self-trained intellect, while powerful, also embraced surprisingly naive ideas, such as his deep interest in the study of spiritual manifestations and seances. Shermer shows that the same iconoclastic outlook that led him to overturn scientific orthodoxy as he worked in relative isolation also led him to embrace irrational beliefs, and thus tarnish his reputation. As author of Why People Believe Weird Things and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, Shermer is an authority on why people embrace the irrational. Now he turns his keen judgment and incisive analysis to Wallace's life and his contradictory beliefs, restoring a leading figure in the rise of modern science to his rightful place.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
This autobiography of Alfred Russell Wallace spends a great deal of time on the arrangement that was set up in 1858 by friends of Charles Darwin to retain Darwin's priority in the face of Wallace's independent discovery of the same theory that Darwin had been working on for 20 years. This book is a much needed corrective for the vituperation that has surrounded Darwin in the past few years, as people clamor to try to turn him into a vicious, back-biting publicity hog. Shermer explores the many ins and outs of this particular situation, and tries to resurrect Wallace from the dustbin of history without relegating Darwin to the sidelines where he does not, in fact, deserve to be.
In Darwin's shadow: the life and science of Alfred Russel Wallace: a biographical study on the psychology of historyUser Review - Book Verdict
Wallace is nearly unknown today, but he was revered as one of the preeminent naturalists of the Victorian age. Accorded the rank of "codiscoverer" of the theory of natural selection (ranking second only to Charles Darwin), Wallace spent twice as much time as Darwin collecting specimens during ocean voyages and in remote jungles. What he didn't do was devote years formulating his observations into evolutionary theory; instead, he started with the theory of natural selection and then set about finding the data to prove it. It was his initial draft that spurred Darwin to publish, without further delay, his first paper outlining the theory of evolution. This new biography details the distinct differences in their viewpoints of natural selection. Despite Wallace's tremendous intellect and contributions to science, his foray into and support of spiritualism, s ances, and phrenology tarnished his credibility and standing. Shermer is founding publisher and editor in chief of Skeptic magazine, the author of several popular science books, and considered an authority on the heretical personality. His expertise in analyzing the life and paradoxical beliefs of this complex man elevate "the last great Victorian" to a position of prominence as one of the significant leaders in modern science. Highly recommended for all academic and larger public library science collections. [See also Infinite Tropics: An Alfred Russel Wallace Anthology, reviewed in LJ 8/02. Ed.]Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll. Lib., Kansas City, MO ...
The Forgotten Naturalist: In Search of Alfred Russel Wallace
John Grenell Wilson
No preview available - 2000
Prologue The Psychology of Biography
1 Uncertain Beginnings
2 The Evolution of a Naturalist
3 Breaching the Walls of the Species Citadel
4 The Mystery of Mysteries Solved
5 A Gentlemanly Arrangement
6 Scientific Heresy and Ideological Murder
7 A Scientist Among the Spiritualists
10 Heretic Personality
11 The Last Great Victorian
12 The Life of Wallace and the Nature of History
Epilogue Psychobiography and the Science of History
Wallace Archival Sources
Wallaces Published Works