By: Paul Lawrence Farber
136 pages, 15 b/w illus
Traces the development of the naturalist tradition since the eighteenth century and considers its relationship to other research areas in the life sciences. Farber explores the adventures of early naturalists, the ideas that lay behind classification systems, the development of museums and zoos, and the range of motives that led collectors to collect.
The history of natural history can rarely have been as succinctly told as in Paul Lawrence Farber's 129-page Finding Order in Nature. From the intellectual revolutions of Linnaeus and Darwin through the Victorian obsessions with classifying and collecting, to the conservationists led by E. O. Wilson, it is an odyssey beautifully told. New Scientist Farber artfully compresses into one small, engaging volume the span of natural history as a field of study from its beginnings in the 18th century to the present day... What results is truly an introduction to the subject... a concise work that gives the general reader a solid understanding. Library Journal Farber does an impressive job of demonstrating how practitioners like Linnaeus, Buffon, Saint-Hilaire and Cuvier advanced the field and set the stage for the development of science as we know it today... [An] estimable volume. Publishers Weekly Broadly charts the intellectual, epistemological, aesthetic, and cultural work of the naturalist tradition-from the great eighteenth-century systematic nomenclators Linnaeus and Buffon, through the nineteenth-century evolutionary theorists Darwin and Wallace, to contemporary American entomologist Edward O. Wilson. It reflects a generalist sensibility and is valuable precisely because its scope is broad and its story compelling. -- Michael P. Branch Isle
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