Wordful Wednesday: Book Review – Charles Darwin by Gavin de Beer
I was lent this book by someone from my church…many months ago. Wait while I go check…okay, I’m back — it was six months ago!
First off, I have to say the main reason I took so long to finish reading the book is because I found it incredibly hard to engage and remain focused. I am reluctant to use the word ‘boring’ because it isn’t, not really. The author simply has a knack for writing something which the reader at once recognises as something he is knowledgeable and passionate about; if there is any failure to find the subject matter as fascinating and compelling, the fault lies with the reader, not with the author. One of the main features of the book is its exceptionally long sentences, averaging forty to fifty words each — occasionally with side remarks inserted — and sometimes with historical and scientific information that I often felt like Pooh Bear who said, “I am a Bear of Very Little Brain and long words bother me.”
I told my friend that I finally finished the book but that I don’t think I got much out of it (sorry!) and that I’d be hard-pressed to even give a summary of the book. He was gracious and said that he found it fascinating himself and told of how he walked into a second-hand bookstore in Adelaide while on a road trip and in a moment of serendipity found this book.
One thing that I do remember reading is that the author dispels any notion that Darwin was an atheist in his old age. From Darwin’s own writings, the famous scientist said that he would describe himself more accurately as an agnostic.
When I was preparing to write up this blogpost, I discovered that the entire book is available online (!) and here it is:
So, if you’re up for some university-level biography reading, and you are interested in Darwin’s approach to work and how his findings were received by the scientific community and the community at large, then this book might be right up your alley.