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.
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"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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
If you were ever curious to read this book because of it's astounding fame but never got around to buying the heavy, dense paperback version then this is just for you. This abridged but comprehensive version of On the Origin of the Species is enough to make you feel like you can cross it off your list while knowing the time you spent listening to it was worth it. This book is truly an impressive piece of work with one of the most important ideas mankind has ever had and it is expressed in artful language and backed up with fascinating evidence.
Richard Dawkins does a good job reading this baby. He's a little cold in his narration and even robotic at times but the text stands up for itself.
You won't regret it.
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.
A person can actually keep pace with Darwin's realizations that the other naturalist of his time were flat WRONG.
Richard Dawkins obviously feels strongly about Darwin's work, he brings energy and clairity.
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.
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