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Oxford University Press, USA

In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History

In Darwin's Shadow: The Life and Science of Alfred Russel Wallace: A Biographical Study on the Psychology of History

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Virtually unknown today, Alfred Russel Wallace was the co-discoverer of natural selection with Charles Darwin and an eminent scientist who stood out among his Victorian peers as a man of formidable mind and equally outsized personality. Now Michael Shermer rescues Wallace from the shadow of
Darwin in this landmark biography.

Here we see Wallace as perhaps the greatest naturalist of his age--spending years in remote jungles, collecting astounding quantities of specimens, writing thoughtfully and with bemused detachment at his reception in places where no white man had ever gone. Here, too, is his supple and forceful
intelligence at work, grappling with such arcane problems as the bright coloration of caterpillars, or shaping his 1858 paper on natural selection that prompted Darwin to publish (with Wallace) the first paper outlining the theory of evolution. Shermer also shows that Wallace's self-trained
intellect, while powerful, also embraced surprisingly naive ideas, such as his deep interest in the study of spiritual manifestations and seances. Shermer shows that the same iconoclastic outlook that led him to overturn scientific orthodoxy as he worked in relative isolation also led him to embrace
irrational beliefs, and thus tarnish his reputation.

As author of Why People Believe Weird Things and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, Shermer is an authority on why people embrace the irrational. Now he turns his keen judgment and incisive analysis to Wallace's life and his contradictory beliefs, restoring a leading figure in the rise of
modern science to his rightful place.

Author: Michael Shermer
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Published: 11/25/2011
Pages: 444
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.36lbs
Size: 9.21h x 6.14w x 0.90d
ISBN: 9780199856534

About the Author

Michael Shermer is the founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, executive director of the Skeptics Society, and a monthly columnist for Scientific American. An adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University, he is also the host of the Skeptics Distinguished Science Lecture Series at CalTech. He lives in Southern California.

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