How to Read Darwin, Paperback

How to Read Darwin Paperback

Part of the How to Read series


Granta's new How to Read series is based on a very simple, but novel, idea.

Most beginners' guides to great thinkers and writers offer either potted biographies or condensed summaries of their major works.

How to Read, by contrast, brings the reader face to face with the writing itself in the company of an expert guide.

Its starting point is that in order to get close to what a writer is all about, you have to get close to the words they actually use and be shown how to read those words.

Each book in the series will hopefully be a masterclass in reading.

Our authors have been asked to select ten or so short extracts from a writer's work and look at them in detail as a way of revealing their central ideas and thereby opening the doors onto a whole world of thought. The books will not be merely a compilation of a thinker's most famous passages, their 'greatest hits', but will rather offer a series of clues or keys that will enable to reader to go on and make discoveries of their own.

In addition to the texts and readings, each book will provide a short biographical chronology and suggestions for further reading, internet resources and so on. The books in the How to Read don't claim to tell you all you need to know. Instead they offer a refreshing set of first-hand meetings with those minds.

Our hope is that these books will instruct, intrigue, embolden, encourage and delight.

Charles Darwin's permanent legacy is his broad, abstract theories of evolution and natural selection, theories which he tested against an astonishing array of natural history evidence in his writing. Mark Ridley identifies the question and answer approach as the defining characteristic of the way Darwin carefully tackled problems, and shows here how the reader can understand Darwin's arguments by first working out what question Darwin had implicitly set himself to answer.

The book discusses extracts not only from Darwin's most famous books, The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, but also from a sample of Darwin's other works, which cover topics from flower pollination to coral reefs, from animal domestication to landscaping by earthworms.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 128 pages, black & white illustrations
  • Publisher: Granta Books
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Evolution
  • ISBN: 9781862077287



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops

Also by Mark Ridley   |  View all

Also in the How to Read series   |  View all