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Charles Darwin

Victorian Mythmaker
Narrated by: Richard Burnip
Length: 18 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3 ratings)
Non-member price: $44.94
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Publisher's Summary

A radical reappraisal of Charles Darwin from the best-selling author of Victoria: A Life

Charles Darwin: the man who discovered evolution? The man who killed off God? Or a flawed man of his age, part genius, part ruthless careerist who would not acknowledge his debts to other thinkers?

In this bold new life - the first single volume biography in 25 years - A. N. Wilson, the acclaimed author of The Victorians and God's Funeral, goes in search of the celebrated but contradictory figure Charles Darwin.

Darwin was described by his friend and champion, Thomas Huxley, as a 'symbol'. But what did he symbolize? In Wilson's portrait, both sympathetic and critical, Darwin was two men. On the one hand, he was a naturalist of genius, a patient and precise collector and curator who greatly expanded the possibilities of taxonomy and geology. On the other hand, Darwin, a seemingly diffident man who appeared gentle and even lazy, hid a burning ambition to be a universal genius. He longed to have a theory which explained everything.

But was Darwin's 1859 master work, On the Origin of Species, really what it seemed, a work about natural history? Or was it in fact a consolation myth for the Victorian middle classes, reassuring them that the selfishness and indifference to the poor were part of nature's grand plan?

Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker is a radical reappraisal of one of the great Victorians, a book which isn't afraid to challenge the Darwinian orthodoxy while bringing us closer to the man, his revolutionary idea and the wider Victorian age.

©2017 A. N. Wilson (P)2017 John Murray Press

Critic Reviews

"Hugely enjoyable." (Spectator)
"A lucid, elegantly written and thought-provoking social and intellectual history." (Evening Standard)
"As a historian trying to put Darwin in the context of his time, there is surely no better biographer than Wilson." (The Times)

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  • Theo Tsourdalakis
  • 01-01-2019

DARWIN THE REAL MAN - EYE OPENING

This is an awesome book.
It goes into great detail which sometimes can be laborious – but necessary to give a clear and accurate picture.
The best thing about it is that takes Darwin down from the pedestal and presents him a real man and not a god.

He dismantles many of the legends and fallacies that surround Darwin and evolution and shows that evolution was adopted as a popular myth largely for philosophical reasons.

Some of the key extracts include:
• “Huxley and the other Victorians
who leapt at the idea of the survival of the fittest
as the explanation of everything
did so for other than scientific reasons.”
• “Darwinism, as is shown by the current state of debate, is resistant to argument because it is resistant to fact.”
• “Mr Darwin has never pretended that his doctrine was proved.”
• “But Darwin’s best-sellers were based, perhaps like many best-sellers, on mythic contradiction. “
• “Stephen Jay Gould, one of the most distinguished palaeontologists of the twentieth century, quipped that the absence of transitional forms was ‘the trade secret of palaeontology’.10 There has never been a coherent explanation of the emergence of highly complex forms.”

This book was helpful to me because I had been hearing about the "mountains of evidence" proving Evolution for years;
I thought it was rock solid science.
One day I started scrutinizing the so called "mountains of evidence" and to my utter disgust I found that it was actually mountains of cow dung.
There are mountains of ambit claims in the big print but when I analysed the small print I discovered that I was conned.
The deception starts with a vague and changing definition of evolution; if they do not define what the word means then the evidence they provide does not have to prove anything in particular.
(see link for details http://youtu.be/fQ_h-S7IuaM).
The evolutionists provide countless examples of micro evolution (adaptation) and INFER that this somehow proves Macro evolution (development of new body parts).
This is typical "bait and switch" advertising.
This book helped me to see through the deception; I hope it is equally useful to others.


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  • Seayeaitch
  • 27-11-2018

Breaking the myth....

A book that I know I will return to. A philosophy that has underpinned much of our thinking and I’m sure will continue, nothing can be ignored. The story is enhanced by the narrator Richard Burnip who does great justice in bringing together and delivering a great masterpiece.

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  • Tommy
  • 10-04-2018

A biography of an idea

I really enjoyed A.N. Wilson's "biography of an idea", referring of course to Darwin's Theory of Evolution.

Wilson's elegant prose really brings to life Darwin and the many fascinating characters who preceded and surrounded him.