Award-winning cultural historian Iain McCalman tells the stories of Charles Darwin and his most vocal supporters and colleagues: Joseph Hooker, Thomas Huxley, and Alfred Wallace. Beginning with the somber morning of April 26, 1882-the day of Darwin's funeral-Darwin's Armada steps back in time and recounts the lives and scientific discoveries of each of these explorers. The four amateur naturalists voyaged separately from Britain to the southern hemisphere in search of adventure and scientific fame.
From Darwin's inaugural trip on the Beagle in 1835 through Wallace's exploits in the Amazon and, later, Malaysia in the 1840s and 1850s, each man independently made discoveries that led him to embrace Darwin's groundbreaking theory of evolution. This book reveals the untold story of Darwin's greatest supporters who, during his life, campaigned passionately in the war of ideas over evolution and who lived on to extend and advance the scope of his work.
"McCalman evokes the physical hardships and social intricacies navigated by his heroes [...] and also the feel of an era when 'adventure and science went hand in hand.'"
– The New Yorker
"[McCalman's] narratives are as much bildungsroman as scientific analysis, showing how the four voyagers were steeled and transformed by the demands of the sea and the wondrous unfamiliarity of life on distant shores."
– The New York Times Book Review