The audiobook reviewed here is ‘Darwin and Evolution (Unabridged)’ by Dr Michael Ghiselin and narrated by Edwin Newman. Firstly Edwin Newman the narrator speaks clearly and slowly and the rich timbre of his voice conveys a sense of authority as well as maintaining the interest of the listener. There are a number voices for figures portrayed in the book including Darwin and Linnaeus which I thought was quite creative and again maintains interest for the listener. As the audiobook is relatively brief at just under 3 hours and as there is a great deal of material to cover, I was impressed at Ghiselin’s ability to do so concisely by conveying the essence of Darwin’s theories including quotes from Darwin himself. Ghiselin gives a background to the other important figures in the story which include Linnaeus, Huxley (nicknamed ‘Darwin’s bulldog’), Owen, Wilberforce and Wallace who was due to publish a theory of evolution himself and had apparently received ideas by reading Darwin’s book on the ‘Voyage of the Beagle’ (see review here).
I was interested to hear quotes from Darwin placed strategically close together in the book and explaining some of his thoughts behind natural and sexual selection quite clearly. Ghiselin goes onto describe some of the developments after Darwin’s death. I was surprised to find that sometime later that there had been a loss of interest in Darwin’s theory of natural selection and that a resurgence occured after this. What was also interesting was that Darwin had in his time addressed many of the alternatives to natural selection and rebuffed them with appropriate evidence, alternative theories that continue to be proposed albeit in different forms. Ghiselin discusses the work of Haldane in reconciling genetics and natural selection
I thought this was a well constructed audiobook which concisely explains essential features of Darwin’s important theories and I thought it was sufficiently informative to be useful for repeated listening.
Dr Michael Ghiselin. Darwin and Evolution (Unabridged). Narrated by Edwin Newman. Blackstone Audiobooks. 1993.
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