This book, by Darwin's most celebrated modern biographers, gives a completely new explanation of why he came to his shattering theories about human origins. Until now, Desmond and Moore argue, the source of the moral fire which gives such intensity and urgency to Darwin's ideas has gone unnoticed.
By examining minutely Darwin's manuscripts and correspondence (published and unpublished) and covert notebooks, where many of the clues lie, they show that the key to unlocking the mystery of how such an ostensibly conservative man could hold views which his contemporaries considered both radical and bestial, lay in his utter detestation of slavery.
Adrian Desmond studied at London University and Harvard, has higher degrees in vertebrate palaeontology and the history of science, and a Ph.D. for his work on Victorian evolution. He is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Biology Department at University College London.
James Moore is a reader in history of science and technology at the Open University.