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This classic work, first published in 1942, captured and synthesised all that was then known about evolutionary biology and gave a name to the Modern Synthesis, the conceptual structure underlying the field for most of the twentieth century. Many considered Evolution: The Modern Synthesis a popularization of the ideas then emerging in evolutionary biology, but is in fact a work of serious scholarship that is also accessible to the general educated public.
It is a book in the intellectual tradition of Charles Darwin and Thomas Henry Huxley, the author's grandfather, known for his energetic championing of Darwin's ideas. This definitive edition brings one of the most important and successful scientific books of the twentieth century back into print. It includes the entire text of the 1942 edition, Huxley's introduction to the 1963 second edition (which demonstrates his continuing command of the field), and the introduction to the 1974 third edition, written by nine experts (many of them Huxley's associates) from different areas of evolutionary biology.
Julian Huxley (1887-1975), an English evolutionary biologist, was a prolific author and the leading figure in the mid-twentieth century effort to develop the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory. He was the first director of UNESCO, a founding member of the World Wildlife Fund, and the recipient of UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for the popularisation of science in 1953, the Darwin Medal of the Royal Society in 1956, and the Darwin-Wallace Medal of the Linnean Society in 1958.
"Julian Huxley's Evolution: The Modern Synthesis excited me when I first read it as a teenager and continues to excite me still. Popular yet scholarly, it synthesizes Darwinism, Mendelism, and population genetics to give a powerful account of the mechanism of evolution. Moreover, it illuminates difficult concepts such as natural selection, speciation, and evolutionary progress to provide a comprehensive enlightening view of evolution. Read it because of the insight it gives into biology of the 1940s; read it because it continues to be relevant today."
– Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, 2001
"It is good to have again in print (with a new introduction) Julian Huxley's masterwork, Evolution: The Modern Synthesis. One marvels at the depths of Huxley's insights, one is impressed by the breadth of his scope, and one is charmed and delighted by his gracious prose. Reading this book is like coming again on an old, valued friend or meeting someone who captivates from the first moment."
– Michael Ruse, Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Program in History and Philosophy of Science, Florida State University