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Darwin in Galápagos: Footsteps to a New World

Biography / Memoir

By: K Thalia Grant and Gregory B Estes

362 pages, 201 colour illus, 73 halftones, 4 maps

Princeton University Press

Hardback | Dec 2009 | #180663 | ISBN-13: 9780691142104
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £27.95 $36/€30 approx

About this book

In 1835, during his voyage on HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin spent several weeks in Galápagos exploring the islands and making extensive notes on their natural history. Darwin in Galápagos is the first book to recreate Darwin's historic visit to the islands, following in his footsteps day by day and island by island as he records all that he observes around him. Thalia Grant and Gregory Estes meticulously retrace Darwin's island expeditions, taking you on an unforgettable guided tour.

Drawing from Darwin's original notebooks and logs from the Beagle, the latest findings by Darwin scholars and modern science, and their own intimate knowledge of the archipelago, Grant and Estes offer rare insights into Darwin's thinking about evolution in the context of the actual locales that inspired him. They introduce Darwin as a young naturalist in England and onboard the Beagle and then put you in his shoes as he explores remote places in the islands. They identify the unique animals and plants he observed and collected, and describe dramatic changes to the islands since Darwin's time. They also explore the importance of Darwin's observations and collections to the development of his thinking after the voyage.

Ideal for visitors to Galápagos and a delight for armchair travelers, Darwin in Galápagos is generously illustrated with color and black-and-white photographs and line drawings, as well as detailed maps of Darwin's island itinerary and informative box features on the archipelago's natural history.

Naturalists Grant and Estes are longtime researchers and residents of the Galpagos. They bring to this account of Darwin's adventures their intimate knowledge of the islands, enabling them to identify sites Darwin visited that previously were in doubt or misidentified... Grant and Estes describe in detail the islands' geographic and volcanic features as well as their many unique species of birds, reptiles and plants, both in Darwin's time and today... All fans of the great scientist will find this an engrossing account of what was probably the most important period in his life. -- Publishers Weekly In Darwin in Galapagos, authors K. Thalia Grant and Gregory B. Estes, both naturalists who have conducted research in the Galapagos for decades, embark on a historic recreation of Darwin's 1835 visit in which they attempt to literally retrace his steps during the five weeks he spent there. -- Rick MacPherson, American Scientist A complement of 201 color and 73 black-and-white illustrations, not available for review, will most probably make this volume the fitting bibliographical capper to the 2009 Darwin bicentenary. -- Ray Olson, Booklist [T]he authors' contribution derives from their meticulous use of Darwin's notes and their intimate knowledge of the islands to reconstruct Darwin's experience there... This book is a must for die-hard Darwin fans and will appeal to those who enjoyed [Jonathan] Weiner's book [The Beak of the Finch] and those by David Quammen (e.g., The Reluctant Mr. Darwin). -- Walter L. Cressier, Library Journal In this work, naturalists Grant and Estes retrace Charles Darwin's steps in the Galapagos, a region he initially visited after nearly four years on HMS Beagle. The authors include a discussion of Darwin's early life and education, along with an account of his voyage before arriving on the islands... The volume includes many excellent prints, photographs, and diagrams from Darwin's time as well as present-day photographs, which should appeal to historians and naturalists. -- Choice K. Thalia Grant and Gregory B. Estes' narrative reconstruction of Charles Darwin's 1835 exploration of the islands ... is a remarkable work that expertly rejoins the man and the place, and adds to them both the results of recent scientific discoveries arising from his work to bring to readers one of the most intricate portraits of this pivotal moment in natural history yet written... Should be considered an essential book by anyone hoping better to understand the man, his work, and his continuing influence upon the scientific world today. -- The Well-read Naturalist Readers feel they are walking in the steps of Darwin as he moves towards his radical ideas of natural selection and evolution. This is a model travel book. It contains all the Darwin-inspired traveller to the Galapagos Islands could want, including historic and contemporary illustrations and photos. -- Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald A good book should be based on first-hand knowledge of the subject and the authors offer an impressive combination of experience--a vast amount of information is marshaled to give readers a full picture. The book is well illustrated with a rich mixture of historical and modern images. Any reader seriously interested in Darwin and Galapagos will want to read this book. -- John van Wyhe, Galapagos News


P> Introduction. Darwin's Islands 1 Part 1. Before Galapagos CHAPTER I. Curious Beginnings 25 Born to Science 25 Shrewsbury 30 Edinburgh 32 Cambridge 33 CHAPTER II. Voyage of the Beagle 39 Offer of a Lifetime 39 The Beagle 43 Captain and Crew 45 Life on Board 49 CHAPTER III. Gearing for Galapagos 52 First Stop, Paradise 53 A Massive Discovery 56 A Change of Perspective 58 The Proof of the Pudding 62 A Bump in the Road 64 Uplifting Andes 66 Bound for "Novel Ground" 67 Part 2. Galapagos CHAPTER IV. Chatham Island (Isla San Cristobal) 75 Surveying Galapagos 76 Fit for Pandemonium 80 Golden Age of Whaling 81 Strangers to Man 91 A League from the Coast 96 "Waterfalls!" 99 Land of Craters 101 CHAPTER V. Charles Island (Isla Floreana) 111 An Oasis in the Desert 111 Early Human Colonization 114 Darwin's "Mocking-thrush" 118 Tortoise Tales 122 Post Office Collections 131 Alien Invaders: The Human Factor 133 Views from the Top 140 A Confusion of Finches 143 CHAPTER VI. Albemarle Island (Isla Isabela) 155 Vulcan's Playground 155 A Little World within Itself 158 CHAPTER VII. James Island (Isla Santiago) 175 The Sky for a Roof, the Ground for a Table 175 A Highland Marathon 179 Igneous Ingenuity 187 Darwin's Snails 191 Salt and Sugar 195 A Gathering of Giants 202 Wandering about Bird Collecting 204 Halley's Comet 209 Part 3. After Galapagos CHAPTER VIII. Homeward Bound 217 Looking Back, Leaping Forward 217 Dis-Belief 222 CHAPTER IX. A New Voyage 226 A Theory by Which to Work 230 "A Wonderful Spot" 231 Seeds across the Sea 235 The Book That Shook the World 238 "The Origin of'The Origin' " 240 At Home, at Work 242 Appendixes Island and Site Names in Galapagos 245 Bearing Darwin's Name in Galapagos 248 HMS Beagle's Complement 251 Acknowledgments 253 Notes 257 Further Reading 335 Index 337 Vertebrate Species Collected in Galapagos 349 Illustration Credits 353

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K. Thalia Grant is a naturalist with extensive knowledge of Darwin and Galapagos. She has conducted ecological and historical research on the islands since 1973 and has lived there since 1995. Gregory B. Estes has worked as a naturalist in Galapagos since 1982, leading island trips, lecturing on Darwin, and conducting research. Grant and Estes organize educational trips to the islands and work as consultants for film groups.

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