Well, there aren't many people that I love more than Charles Darwin. He is one of my heroes. So I may be biased...a lot. But I loved this book. It was a true adventure tale and one that just could never be repeated in this day and age. The world is a much different place than it was in 1832. Darwin often has a reputation of being a reclusive hermit. And he was in his middle and old age. But the Darwin that cruised the world on the Beagle was young and full of piss, vinegar, and plenty of guts. He headed off into unknown terrain to collect plants, animals, and fossils with nothing more than a compass, a rock hammer, and a single shot pistol that couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. He had no idea where he would sleep each night or what he would eat. He often crossed through territory where local "indians" as he called them had killed European folk. He got rained on, snowed on, and survived several massive earthquakes, not to mention all of the stormy seas that drove him to the rail of the ship to barf. He climbed and crossed the divide of the Andes...several times. With none of the ropes, Gore-Tex and other modern amenities. He never stayed at the Holiday Inn. I guess you get the idea that I think Darwin was cool.
This book could also be painfully boring at time, at least to me. Darwin was a geologist as well as a biologist. His rock discussions were a bit too much for me, mostly because I am geologically challenged. But this book is wonderful. It is an amazing adventure story written by one of the greatest scientists of all time.
Today is Darwin's birthday (he would've been 199 years old today (2/12/08)), and people around the world are celebrating "Darwin Day". I hope you will celebrate too sometime by reading one of his great books. I will soon post about more of his books, as I have 3 or 4 more to read this year! Happy Birthday, Charlie and thanks for this book.