One of the most famous and influential books of its (or any) time, The Origin of Species is, surprisingly, little read. True enough, most people know what it says-or think they do, at any rate. The first comprehensive statement of the theory of natural selection it does, indeed, provide the basic argument and demonstration of what we think of as Darwinism.
Originally published in 1859, Darwin's revolutionary idea is revisited in this spirited and profoundly enthralling reading by Professor Richard Dawkins, who in reading Darwin's material aloud manages to rediscover old ideas and unearth some dramatic subtleties in his prose. Dawkins offers a well-pronounced, pitch-perfect delivery and smartly never attempts to turn the reading into a performance from Darwin's point of view. Instead, Dawkins delivers the material from his own context as a modern-day interpreter of the classical work. Dawkins also splendidly adapts this abridgment, leaving out sections of Darwin's original theories that have been discredited by modern science. Dawkins says he believes his alterations are what Darwin himself would have wished for the recording, and the final result is an absolutely astounding glimpse into life as we know it. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.