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Academic & Professional Books  Evolutionary Biology  Evolution

The Readable Darwin The Origin of Species Edited for Modern Readers

New Edition
By: Charles Darwin(Author), Jan A Pechenik(Editor)
496 pages, 100+ illustrations
The Readable Darwin
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  • The Readable Darwin ISBN: 9780197575260 Edition: 2 Hardback Apr 2023 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1 week
Price: £32.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

Darwin's On the Origin of Species is one of the most influential books ever written. It is essential reading for anyone interested in biology, evolution, the natural world, or the history of scientific thought. However, the book can be difficult to follow. The sentences and paragraphs are lengthy, and Darwin often references people and ideas unfamiliar to contemporary readers. The Readable Darwin translates the sixth and final edition of Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1872) into clear, engaging prose. Whereas the first edition of The Readable Darwin includes the first eight chapters of Darwin's book, this new edition presents all fifteen chapters of On the Origin of Species and features over 100 illustrations.

The Readable Darwin begins by discussing artificial selection, demonstrating that selection for new traits can indeed be made to occur, even within our lifetimes. It then presents evidence for natural selection derived from developmental traits and the geological record. Throughout, Pechenik painstakingly revises Darwin's prose. He breaks up long paragraphs, shortens and reorganizes sentences, and replaces weak verbs with strong ones. Footnotes clarify concepts, define terms, and identify the many historical figures Darwin mentions.

On the Origin of Species is a foundational work of scholarship in the biological sciences. It documents the remarkable diversity of life on earth and is a wonderful example of honest and logical scientific thinking. The Readable Darwin brings this groundbreaking book to life for readers of all backgrounds while remaining true to the original text.



1. Variation Under Domestication
2. Variation in Nature
3. The Struggle for Existence
4. Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest
5. Laws of Variation
6. Difficulties with the Theory
7. Miscellaneous Objections to the Theory of Natural Selection
8. Instinct
9. Hybridism
10. On the Imperfection of the Geological Record
11. On the Geological Succession of Organic Beings
12. Geographical Distribution
13. Geographical Distribution-Continued
14. Evidence for Mutual Affinities Among Organic Beings: Evidence From Morphology, Embryology, and Rudimentary Organs
15. Recapitulation and Conclusion

Appendix A: Other Books by Charles Darwin
Appendix B: People Referred to in These Chapters
Illustration Credits

Customer Reviews


Jan A. Pechenik is a Professor of Marine Biology and Invertebrate Development at Tufts University. He is the author of The Readable Darwin (2014), Biology of the Invertebrates (2014), A Short Guide to Writing about Biology (2012), and more than 140 articles. From 1998 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2008, he served as Director of the Writing Across the Curriculum program at Tufts University.

New Edition
By: Charles Darwin(Author), Jan A Pechenik(Editor)
496 pages, 100+ illustrations
Media reviews

"The members of my lab and I read and discussed The Readable Darwin for our weekly lab meetings and we loved it! My lab is made up of many PhD, MS, and undergraduate students, and not many of us had read Charles Darwin's original text as it is not especially inviting to a modern audience. However, Dr. Pechenik's inclusion of numerous photos and his smoothly written prose make Darwin's classic truly enjoyable and entertaining to read. Dr. Pechenik's edits take nothing away from Darwin's work and his use of modern language will open the door for many more readers. I highly recommend this as required reading for budding and experienced evolutionary biologists and ecologists, and for anyone interested in a better understanding of both Darwin the man and his essential text."
– Carolyn M. Kurle, University of California, San Diego

"I appreciate Pechenik's originality and degree of daring in proposing this book, and I find his idea of making Darwin's work more accessible to people inspiring. Pechenik's writing is lucid, his reorganization of sentences and paragraphs is done with much thought and care, and he is clearly delivering on his vision."
– Adi Livnat, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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