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Download The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution Audiobook, by David Quammen Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 53.76 out of 5 3.76 (25 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Quammen Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Great Discoveries Series Release Date: August 2006 ISBN: 9781482976533
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In September 1838, a young Englishman named Charles Darwin hit upon the idea that natural selection among competing individuals would lead to wondrous adaptations and species diversity. Twenty-one years passed between that epiphany and publication of On the Origin of Species. The human drama and scientific basis of that time constitute a fascinating, tangled tale that illuminates this cautious naturalist who sparked an intellectual revolution. Drawing from Darwin’s secret notebooks and personal letters, David Quammen has sketched a vivid life portrait of the man whose work remains controversial today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Quammen reveals Darwin’s story as sad and heroic by turns.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Quammen brilliantly and powerfully recreates the nineteenth century naturalist’s intellectual and spiritual journey.”

    Los Angeles Times Book Review

  • “This short, highly readable book is as valuable as it is timely.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Grover Gardner’s reading pulses with the excitement of Quammen’s quest…Gardner is perfectly alert to the author’s subtle irony and humor, which Quammen could hardly avoid.”

    AudioFile

  • “Quammen proves an informative, often wry guide to Darwin’s life and continuing influence.”

    Booklist

  • “A concise, tightly focused, engaging, and informative biography that...provides a satisfying portrait of this controversial man.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie | 2/12/2014

    " It's a bit slow and rough in the middle but the beginning and end are great and enjoyable. It's interesting to know the story of Darwin's life and how he developed his theories and eventually came to publish them. It's definitely not the story you think you know! An enjoyable and informative read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 2/9/2014

    " A lovely companion to the film, "Creation". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ann | 1/30/2014

    " Lively and engaging biography of Darwin, focusing on his time after the Beagle voyage while he was coming to terms with the details and implications of natural selection as the mechanism for "transmutation of species". The writing is clear and direct, and Quammen gives a very good description of Darwin's thinking and writing process. I had never realized how many years passed between the time Darwin came to the conclusion that natural selection HAD to be the primary engine of evolution, and when he wrote Origin of Species. It's also so remarkable that he mad ethat intellectual leap without really knowing anything about genetic mutation and Mendelian inheritance. I highly recommend this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan | 1/23/2014

    " Nice review of Darwin's life and work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sara | 1/23/2014

    " Despite my adoration for Darwin and his theory, before I read this book I knew little about his process from discovery to publication. I still can not believe that he came up with naural selection and survival of the fittest BEFORE the discovery of MEndelian genetics. I enjoyed this read, and the bibliography has added more titles to my "to read" list at home. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jared | 1/22/2014

    " I enjoyed this portrayal of Darwin, although I had expected more biography. Quammen esssentially ignores everything un-related to how Darwin developed his most famous theory, (Not that I think that is a bad thing.) instead focusing on his adult life and his discoveries. It was an easy read for the most part and while it wasn't enthralling, it was good. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 1/20/2014

    " This is a very engaging book, it reads quickly with humor and intelligence. Also a great portrait of how science is embedded in the culture of the moment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Braden Lewis | 12/13/2013

    " This book is a great, easily readable introduction to Darwin that contextualizes his primary work (On the Origin of Species) into his personal life. I would recommend this book as a good primer or companion volume for anyone wishing to read On the Origin of Species. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pleuni Pennings | 11/26/2013

    " Lovely book about Darwin. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darrick | 11/16/2013

    " Excellent book for those who don't know anything about Darwin. This mainly covers his post Beagle voyage, which is the most exciting part. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rita Brinkerhoff | 10/29/2013

    " I love David Quammen!!! I'm only a chapter into this so far, and it is fabulously readable. Alas, I think I sold it for money before my move. OOPS. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 James | 8/17/2013

    " Not as interesting or informative as Darwin's Armada. Quammen's writing made the reading a bit laborious at times. Still, worth reading to get more detail about Darwin and the evolution of evolution theory. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 7/21/2013

    " A well written account of Darwin and how he slowly brought his ideas to life. I would recommend this book, especially in light of the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species and the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 10/8/2012

    " If you're looking for a good, quick starter Darwin biography, this is it. While a tad too informally written for my taste the writing is entertaining and the book is an interesting glimpse into the humanity of the great Darwin. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vashta | 7/28/2012

    " This is a biography about Charles Darwin that talks about his theory at the same time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloriavirtutisumbra | 2/18/2012

    " Well I will never look at Darwin the same now, had no idea he was such a shy retiring homebody with digestive disorders! This is a short sweet book that fleshes out the man behind the theories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Braden Canfield | 6/29/2011

    " An easy introduction to Darwin's life and thought. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pa | 5/22/2011

    " Quite a good account of Charles Darwin's frame of mind during the many years between the voyage of the Beagle and the publication of the Origin of Species. Also includes quite a lot of information about Alfred Wallace (much of which I didn't know). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carla | 5/9/2011

    " I listened to this one on audio cd and found it interesting enough to make me want to read more about Darwin (and maybe even inspire me to read his masterwork, The Origin of the Species). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gloriavirtutisumbra | 12/7/2010

    " Well I will never look at Darwin the same now, had no idea he was such a shy retiring homebody with digestive disorders! This is a short sweet book that fleshes out the man behind the theories. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linconter | 12/6/2010

    " I learned a lot about the climate in which Darwin was writing his Origin of Species and the research that led him to his theories. Meticulous man!!!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jonathan | 7/24/2010

    " Nice review of Darwin's life and work. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alex | 5/18/2010

    " Mr. Darwin is an interesting character indeed! I used this book to get more information for my Charles Darwin Profile I am putting in my book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 3/23/2010

    " A lovely companion to the film, "Creation". "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eoin | 1/24/2010

    " Muscular and amusing prose surround thorough, subtle research. Worth it for the chapter-by-chapter Origin. "

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About the Author
Author David Quammen

David Quammen is the author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including Blood Line and The Song of the Dodo. A three-time National Magazine Award winner, he is a contributing writer for National Geographic and has written for Harper’s, Outside, Esquire, Atlantic, Powder, and Rolling Stone. He travels widely on assignment, usually to jungles, mountains, remote islands, and swamps. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.