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About the Book
book cover The compelling story of the theory of evolution, from Darwin to 21st-century science.

Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, by Carl Zimmer.

With an introduction by Stephen Jay Gould and a foreword by Richard Hutton. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.

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  Darwin's On the Origins of Species was breathtaking -- beautifully written, staunchly defended, defiantly radical. Yet it emerged long before paleontologists and geologists worked out the chronology of life on Earth, long before biologists uncovered the molecules that underlie heredity and natural selection. The great irony of Darwin's seminal work is that not until the 20th century would its true power be recognized.

In this remarkable new book, a rich and up-to-date view of evolution is presented that explores the far-reaching implications of Darwin's theory.

A companion to one of the most important television series in PBS history, this dazzling volume with more than 150 color illustrations emphasizes the power, significance, and relevance of evolution to our lives today. After all, we ourselves are the product of evolution, and we can tackle many of our gravest challenges -- from the lethal resurgence of antibiotic-resistant diseases to the wave of extinctions that looms before us -- with a sound understanding of evolution. It can help us see our lives in connection to everything that has come before and to everything on Earth today.

Filled with rich narrative, award-winning science writing, and the most up-to-date information on topics ranging from coevolution, Darwinian medicine, and sexual selection to the origins of language, evolutionary psychology, and the controversies surrounding creationism, Evolution tells in riveting detail the story of a remarkable scientific journey from the emergence, to the triumph, of an idea.

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Part 1 Slow Victory: Darwin and the Rise of Darwinism
1 Darwin and the Beagle
2 "Like Confessing a Murder": The Origin of Origin of Species
3 Deep Time Discovered: Putting Dates to the History of Life
4 Witnessing Change: Genes, Natural Selection, and Evolution in Action

Part 2 Creation and Destruction
5 Rooting the Tree of Life: From Life's Dawn to the Age of Microbes
6 The Accidental Tool Kit: Chance and Constraints in Animal Evolution
7 Extinction: How Life Ends and Begins Again

Part 3 Evolution's Dance
8 Coevolution: Weaving the Web of Life
9 Doctor Darwin: Disease in the Age of Evolutionary Medicine
10 Passion's Logic: The Evolution of Sex

Part 4 Humanity's Place in Evolution and Evolution's Place in Humanity
11 The Gossiping Ape: The Social Roots of Human Evolution
12 Modern Life, 50,000 B.C.: The Dawn of Us
13 What about God?

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Carl Zimmer is the author of At the Water's Edge and Parasite Rex. A former senior editor at Discover, he writes a regular column on evolution for Natural History. He also contributes articles to magazines such as National Geographic, Audubon, and Science. He lives in New York City.

Praise for Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea

"Zimmer's vivid and accessible celebration of Darwin's powerful idea is essential reading for all who wish to know how life arose and diversified. Readers will delight in this engaging book which will leave them with an enriched and profound understanding of the interconnectedness of all life -- past, present and future."
--Donald C. Johanson, Director of the Institute of Human Origins and coauthor of Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind

"In reading this excellent book I thought: How pleased Darwin would have been to see his ideas so clearly explained, and to realize how much they're used by researchers in understanding our world today."
--David Bodanis, author of E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation

"This brilliant book is a virtual Voyage of the Beagle! Carl Zimmer shows, with the benefit of a hundred and fifty years of hindsight, how right Darwin was -- and how his great idea has had a triumph more complete than even he could have imagined. Darwin would have loved it, and anyone who wants to know why life is the way it is need look no further."
--Steve Jones, author of Darwin's Ghost

"The evolution of life over four billion years is a grand narrative, full of plots, intrigues, surprises and deaths. Carl Zimmer tells the tale with zest and style."
--Matt Ridley, author of Genome

"Don't be fooled by the size and beauty of Evolution. This is no mere coffee-table book. Yes, the images are luscious, but even more important is the wealth of information contained here, from Darwin's day to this, as well as the wonderful surprise of Carl Zimmer's eloquent text: clear, spare, erudite, and at all times fascinating."
--Robin Marantz Henig, author The Monk in the Garden: The Lost and Found Genius of Gregor Mendel

"... unlike other coffee table tomes accompanying such programs, Carl Zimmer's Evolution is particularly worthy of notice."
--Jeffrey Winters Discover magazine, October 2001

"... richly illustrated and lucidly written."
--Timothy Goldsmith Science magazine, September 2001

"Science writer Zimmer does a superb job of providing a sweeping overview of most of the topics critical to understanding evolution ..."
Publisher's Weekly, 6 August 2001
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