We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
 >   > 
The Book That Changed America Audiobook

The Book That Changed America: How Darwin's Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation

Regular Price:$28.00
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

The compelling story of the effect of Charles Darwin's book On the Origin of Species on a diverse group of American writers, abolitionists, and social reformers, including Henry David Thoreau and Bronson Alcott, in 1860.

In early 1860, a single copy of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species was read and discussed by five important American intellectuals who seized on the book's assertion of a common ancestry for all creatures as a powerful argument against slavery. The book first came into the hands of Harvard botanist Asa Gray, who would lead the fight for the theory in America. Gray passed his heavily annotated copy to the child welfare reformer Charles Loring Brace, who saw value in natural selection's premise that mankind was destined to undergo progressive improvement. Brace then introduced the book to three other friends: Franklin Sanborn, a key supporter of the abolitionist John Brown, who grasped that Darwin's depiction of constant struggle and endless competition perfectly described America in 1860, especially the ongoing conflict between pro- and antislavery forces; the philosopher Bronson Alcott, who resisted Darwin's insights as a threat to transcendental idealism; and Henry David Thoreau, who used Darwin's theory to redirect the work he would pursue till the end of his life regarding species migration and the interconnectedness of nature.

The Book That Changed America offers a fascinating narrative account of these prominent figures as they grappled over the course of that year with Darwin's dangerous hypotheses. In doing so, it provides new perspectives on America prior to the Civil War, showing how Darwin's ideas become potent ammunition in the debate over slavery and helped advance the cause of abolition by giving it scientific credibility.

©2017 Randall Fuller (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"A must-read for everyone interested in Civil-War-era history." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (29 )
5 star
 (20)
4 star
 (5)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
4.6 (27 )
5 star
 (20)
4 star
 (3)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.5 (28 )
5 star
 (19)
4 star
 (6)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Roger South Orange, NJ, United States 03-03-17
    Roger South Orange, NJ, United States 03-03-17 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    369
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    447
    62
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    11
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Oversold"

    This is a incisive study of Darwin's effect on the intellectual and philosophical worlds of Boston and Concord, MA. The discussions of how Darwin affected Thoreau were particularly interesting.

    The argument, however, that The Origin of Species changed America on the eve of its greatest crisis, one that had been building for at least as long as the country had existed, is simply unsupported.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janel 01-30-17
    Janel 01-30-17 Member Since 2016
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful story! Leaving the hearer to ones own understanding!"

    A wonderful description of men and women who genuinely love science and knowledge and their struggle to understand the world in which they lived.

    The narrator has a loud, clear voice that is easy to follow and does very well at divulging the emotions of the characters through his tone which made it fun to listen to.

    No matter your walk of life, this book is for you!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.