Book Review: Charles Darwin: The ‘Beagle’ Letters by Frederick Burkhardt (Editor) | Science News

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Book Review: Charles Darwin: The ‘Beagle’ Letters by Frederick Burkhardt (Editor)

Review by Tom Siegfried

By
9:42pm, January 16, 2009

Charles Darwin was a prolific letter writer — not unusual in his day, of course, before telephones, e-mail and Facebook. A little less usual is the degree to which his correspondence has been preserved, and so widely read.

Darwin died in 1882, and collecting and assessing Darwinabilia has been a passion for historians of both science and culture ever since. The bicentennial of Darwin’s birth has inspired renewed attention and new collections — in this case, a thorough catalog of the letters written by and to Darwin shortly before and during his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle, a ship that circumnavigated the globe during the period 1831–1836.

These pages offer much science, from descriptions of South American geology to accounts of Galápagos faun

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