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Charles Darwin's name is among the most recognised in the world, and more than 100 years after his death his books are still best-sellers; there are more than ten modern editions of the most famous, On the Origin of Species, currently available. His theories of descent with modification and of sexual selection are among the most influential ever formulated, but those theories, which imply the interconnectedness not just of humans and animals but of every living thing, are often imperfectly understood, or even willfully misrepresented, and Darwin himself is reduced to a two-dimensional character, a cipher deployed in the guerilla warfare between fundamentalist religion and hard line atheism. How many people know that Darwin was famous among his family and friends for his sense of fun? Darwin: All That Matters puts his life, personality, and the full breadth and significance of his work in context, with greater emphasis on his post-Origin work. It is perfect for those who want to gain a sound grasp of the subject quickly, and those looking for a good entry-level book as a starting point for further study.
Alison Pearn is an historian and Associate Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project at Cambridge University. Since 1996 she has been happily researching and editing the 15,000 or so letters Darwin exchanged with an eclectic network of correspondents around the world, and, thanks to her colleagues, knows more than she ever thought she would about the minutiae of 19th century life and science. She admits to some responsibility for ten of the twenty volumes of Darwin's correspondence so far published, and has co-edited a volume of selected letters. She was one of the organisers of Cambridge University's international Darwin 2009 festival, curated an exhibition on the Beagle voyage and edited a companion guide, and has contributed to a number of academic and popular books and journals. She has appeared in podcasts and in radio programmes on three continents, but so far no one has let her near a TV studio.