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The Richness of Life: A Stephen Jay Gould Reader [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Stephen Jay Gould

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"This "best of Gould" collection leaves two strong impressions. One is that evolution is as proven a fact as gravity but that how it works is an unsolved problem. The other is that, for the practitioners, science is fun" (Brenda Maddox The Times)

"Georgeously crafted essays... entertaining... makes a plausible case for supporting claims that the author was a modern-day Montaigne of science... a rewarding read" (Sunday Telegraph)

"A modern polymath" (John R. G. Turner Times Literary Supplement)

"A great scientist and science writer" (Sunday Times)

"A Western Science phenomenon. His quirkiness, his ability to coalesce seemingly unconnected topics, and his individual passion are qualities that help make him such a powerful writer" (Observer)


An impressive and generous selection of the best and most representative writing by one of the best loved scientists and science writers.


There aren't many scientists famous enough in their lifetime to be canonized by the US Congress as one of America's 'living legends'. It is still more unlikely that the title should have been conferred on a man regarded by many in the US as a notorious radical and sometime Marxist - controversial throughout his life as a theorist and polemicist even amongst colleagues in his own chosen fields of palaeontology and evolutionary theory. Yet few would have grudged this accolade to Stephen Jay Gould, whose writings on history - both of the natural world and of the study of that natural world - had made him a household name by the time of his death in 2002. And not just in the Anglophone world, for his books and articles have been widely translated and read in their hundreds of thousands in every society in which debate about evolution and the human condition are the stuff of intellectual life. Gould's written legacy is prodigious - the unbroken series of 300 essays published in "Natural History" magazine, a clutch of books culminating in the monumental 1400 page "Structure of Evolutionary Theory", appearing just months before his death, and of course his academic papers.

A committed Darwinian and robust critic of creationist myths, he nevertheless made major revisions to orthodox Darwinian theory, from his concept of punctuated equilibrium to his insistence on the importance of chance in the history of life on earth. And in addition, his trenchant attacks on scientific racism and the pretensions of sociobiology still resonate, nearly three decades after they were first written. In the "Stephen Jay Gould Reader", Steven Rose and Paul McGarr have selected from across the full range of Gould's writing, including some of the most famous of his essays and extracts from his major books. An introduction by Steven Rose sets both the essays, and Gould's life, in context.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Stephen Jay Gould was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard and the Curator for Invertebrate Palaeontology in the University's Museum of Comparative Zoology. He died in May 2002.

Steven Rose is Professor of Biology and Director of the Brain and Behaviour Research Group at The Open University, Visiting Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology at University College London, and, jointly with sociologist Hilary Rose, Professor of Physic (genetics and society) at Gresham College, London. His books include The Making of Memory (1992), Lifelines (1997), Alas, Poor Darwin: Arguments Against Evolutionary Psychology (with Hilary Rose) (2000) and The 21st-Century Brain (2004).

Paul McGarr is a mathematics teacher in an east London secondary school and a leading member of the Respect coalition in Tower Hamlets. He is on the editorial board of the International Socialism quarterly journal and has written regularly for that journal on issues around science and society. He has written a number of articles and books, including Marxism and the Great French Revolution (1992) and Mozart: Overture to Revolution (2001).

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