The other night I finally picked up Adrian Desmond & James Moore’s Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist and I have found it to be one of the most enjoyable books I have ever read (even though I am only about 130 pages in). I would have proceeded much further already but I started reading it aloud to my wife and she has been enjoying it so much that I have been barred from proceeding further unless I continue to orate the contents of the biography. It’s a hefty book, my voice may well give out by time I get to the end, but it is certainly worth a few summer afternoons if you have the time.
Although I do intend to read Janet Browne’s acclaimed 2-volume biography (Charles Darwin: Voyaging and Charles Darwin: The Power of Place) I definitely appreciate Desmond & Moore’s attempt to put Darwin’s personal evolution in socio-political context, revealing a much richer story than I had previously been aware of. If you’re looking for some good reading this summer and want to make sure you’re primed for the big evolutionary anniversaries in 2009, the Desmond & Moore biography provides a good place to start.