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On the Origin of Species | [Charles Darwin]

On the Origin of Species

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion and a life-long committed Darwinist, abridges and reads this special audio version of Charles Darwin's famous book. A literally world-changing book, Darwin put forward the anti-religious and scientific idea that humans in fact evolved over millions of generations from animals, starting with fish, all the way up through the ranks to apes, then to our current form.
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Publisher's Summary

Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion and a life-long committed Darwinist, abridges and reads this special audio version of Charles Darwin's famous book. A literally world-changing book, Darwin put forward the anti-religious and scientific idea that humans in fact evolved over millions of generations from animals, starting with fish, all the way up through the ranks to apes, then to our current form.

Dawkin's passion for his subject and hero are clear and exciting for listeners, who, whatever their religious or scientific views, will be intrigued and captivated by this involving production of arguably one of the most important books of all time.

© and (P)2006 CSA Telltapes Ltd.

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  •  
    M Burlingame, CA, United States 05-28-09
    M Burlingame, CA, United States 05-28-09 Member Since 2006
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    "A Perfect Abridgement"

    "On the Origin of Species" is one of the most important books ever written. It is the most accessible of revolutionary original scientific works. Galileo's "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" is next closest. One might try reading Faraday, but not Newton, Copernicus, Boltzmann, or even Einstein. Darwin intended it as an "Abstract" for a much longer work, but in fact, this abstract needs abridgement. Darwin justifies each assertion with too many detailed examples, complaining all the while about having to omit so much. This interferes with the coherence of his argument for descent with modification by means of natural selection. Thankfully, Richard Dawkins, a celebrated polemicist and author in his own right ("The Selfish Gene," "The God Delusion") has selected out the most important chapters and the most important passages in those chapters, and then he reads them beautifully. One of the most striking revelations is how many of the arguments against his theory Darwin himself anticipated. This is a great way to "read" a book with which every educated person should be familiar.

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Saratoga, CA, USA 12-16-08
    Roy Saratoga, CA, USA 12-16-08 Member Since 2000
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    "Superbly abridged and superbly read"

    I have attempted to read the original several times. For practical reasons (I have young children) I just never could get through.

    This abridgement serves my needs ideally; I did not want to miss any of the salient arguments or data to support them, and I wanted to be sure to understand __in Darwin's words__ what he proposed so that I could better appreciate contemporary refinements.

    Superbly narrated by Richard Dawkins. A great joy in every way.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Dallas, TX, USA 11-05-08
    Mark Dallas, TX, USA 11-05-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Very interesting"

    I haven't read the unabridged version of Darwin's book, so I don't know what was left out, but this abridged version was extremely interesting. Given all the controversy surrounding this book, this was a great way to actually get through the thing without dedicating huge amounts of time to it - and, you'll be the only one in any given conversation that actually read it. That said, whatever your stance on the subject, this book will give you the distinct impression that an immense amount of work went into its writing. He lays out his observations along with the difficulties he had in interpreting the data in an interesting and engaging fashion. His writing style, which is not "I'm exactly right and here's why," is so different from the style of books today that I found it really refreshing. I'm tired of authors glancing over the difficulties in their arguments in their effort to convert you - this book, in contrast, provides reams of data, the problems associated it, and his conclusions as best he could articulate them, while still allowing for error. Good, solid work, regardless of your ideological bent.

    28 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cora Judd 05-24-09
    Cora Judd 05-24-09 Member Since 2007
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    "So glad I finally read this!"

    Richard Dawkins' narration of this book is excellent -- I enjoyed it immensely, however, without my semester of physical anthropology, the essential points would have required much more mental attention.

    Dawkins inserts clarifying information throughout the book and while Darwin's writing is wonderfully clear, I think more of Dawkins' notes and updates would have been an enhancement.

    I was surprised to see how diverse Darwin's background research was and how elegantly he wrote. He anticipated counter-arguments to his ideas and cleanly, systematically eliminated them. As he concluded each level of his argument, the gaps in his knowledge (due to gaps in scientific progress) required that he make certain logical leaps and assumptions. These were especially interesting because he was invariably correct, as time has shown.

    Dawkins abridged the book to some degree which makes me leary - I want to know what the author intended the reader to know. And because the subject is still (astoundingly) controversial, abridging anything of this nature will likely invite criticism.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron PORTLAND, OR, United States 10-16-12
    Aaron PORTLAND, OR, United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2012

    Netflix Desktop for Ubuntu will run the Audible cloud/web player.

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    "Darwin read by Dawkins..."
    Where does On the Origin of Species rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Hello! It's Charles Darwin read by Richard Dawkins. If you don't understand how fantastic this is you have a lot of reading to do.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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    Patrick mesa, AZ, USA 12-14-09
    Patrick mesa, AZ, USA 12-14-09 Member Since 2008
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    "a must listen-so u think u understand evolution"

    1) Dawkins does a great job.
    2) A great way to fill in the gaps of understanding evolution - not a difficult book, but you need undivided attention - Darwin's writing -Extraordinary

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
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    John C. California 04-25-12
    John C. California 04-25-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Dawkins Perfectly Narrates This Home Run Text"
    Would you consider the audio edition of On the Origin of Species to be better than the print version?

    YES. If you're a non science student, it can be difficult to plow through a large science text like this. Now that Dawkins reads it so well to you, anyone can just sit back and SOAK IN Darwin's ground breaking revelation.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of On the Origin of Species?

    A person can actually keep pace with Darwin's realizations that the other naturalist of his time were flat WRONG.


    What does Richard Dawkins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Richard Dawkins obviously feels strongly about Darwin's work, he brings energy and clairity.


    Any additional comments?

    For me, it would have been a tough time reading a tome like this. It would have sat half read for months or even years. Having it narrated by Dawkins was a treat and the book was consumed in 3 days.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    Bennett south lyon, MI, United States 11-10-09
    Bennett south lyon, MI, United States 11-10-09 Member Since 2009
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    "fact"

    Dawkins choses the best way to abridge this enlightening book. Darwins discovery of the fact of evolution is unfolded to you in an irrefutable that would convince doubters and fascinate anyone who has any intrest in learning our the secrets of life on earth.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
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    Ellen 09-12-09
    Ellen 09-12-09
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    "Wonderful"

    Darwin's meticulous work that spanned decades is patiently and humbly summarized in this beautiful book. His writing is charming and careful and the fact that it is fascinating to readers 200 years later is a testament to the man's genius. To hear Richard Dawkins read the words of Darwin is a wonderful thing and makes the experience almost transcendent. It doesn't matter if you understand evolution or not, this book will inform you about how Darwin came to say what he did and hear it in his own words.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather COEUR D ALENE, IDAHO, United States 02-17-13
    Heather COEUR D ALENE, IDAHO, United States 02-17-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Simple, Elegant and Enlightening"
    What did you love best about On the Origin of Species?

    The simple elegance, and the numerous examples of what he was talking about. You didn't need to trust him, because he provided examples of everything.


    What other book might you compare On the Origin of Species to and why?

    Richard Dawkins "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution". It covers the sam esubject but with more modern research and examples.


    Which character – as performed by Richard Dawkins – was your favorite?

    There is only one- Mr. Darwin.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The discussion of the Slave ants. Intriguing.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book. It answered so many questions I had. Now mind, it is a bit outdated now. While all the general ground rules remain the same there is a plethora of new research that you will find covered in more detail in Mr. Dawkins "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution".

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Tim
    High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom
    3/5/11
    Overall
    "Something Old made Something New"

    2009 is a year where the airwaves are saturated by documentaries about the bicentenary of Darwin's Birth. Combine this with the over-exposure of Richard Dawkins as (arguably) Britons most famous intellectual, and you may see a product that has nothing new to offer and which will not enlighten you afresh.

    However, if you haven't read the 'On the Origin of Species', then this audio download is the perfect eye-opener. From the suggestive arguments of the start (artificial selection), through the sweeping poetry of the middle sections, to a prophetic conclusion, the whole of this audio download conveys the argument well making you realize (in the words of the intro) 'how much he got right'.
    Blend this with the harmonies of Dawkins' oratory, and you will find a work that is a classic of popular science rendered with high explanatory value by a reader who conveys the meaning of every syllable.

    Especially notable sections are where Dawkins reads how '[Natural Selection is] immeasurably superior to man's feeble efforts, as the works of Nature are to those of Art' and also the section at the end about 'Light being shed on the origins of man'.

    My one quibble with this work is that it is not especially light listening. Although it is well written & read, listening is not the ideal medium for this book (especially when commuting...) However this can be forgiven considering the depth of understanding created by seeing Darwin in the light of one of his modern disciples.

    Overall, I am very glad I bought this book and happy to recommend it to all and sundry. Although it was written 150 years ago, and the voice of Dawkins can be found across the internet, the combination of these qualities creates something new of old things. I promise you that, in using this download, far from being bored, you will be moved anew by the power of evolution.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
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