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I am a professional science writer; I love science and have learned a great deal about evolutionary biology and the history of that field. But Sean Carroll's "Remarkable Creatures" brought me back to the first-taste delight and gratitude I felt 25 years ago when I began reading the classic books in this subject. Bravo!
Anyone who loves science will fall in love with this book. Anyone who loves biographies will love this book. Anyone who loves great storytelling and adventure tales will love this book. More, I can think of no more pleasant and powerful way for anyone to truly grasp the power and beauty of the scientific endeavor as the most trustworthy way of knowing. In these stories of the great discoveries that birthed and honed an understanding of evolution and the deep-time frame that it requires, one comes to viscerally understand why the openness of science to new ideas (the liberal side of science) is necessarily tempered by the skepticism of those who have a stake in then-current understandings (the conservative side of science). Both are essential. This book gives the listener a profound appreciation of both.
Finally, the author's choice of precisely what biographical elements to convey is masterful. Of note was his choice of including a vignette from each discoverer's childhood that would play out during the course of the narrative as pivotal for shaping his or her character, persistence, or field of interest. The importance of mentors was also very clear in these stories. How crucial to offer up such opportunities to questing youth in every generation!
Overall, I give this book my highest recommendation.
22 of 22 people found this review helpful
I wonder why the author didn't read this himself. The narrator makes these tales sound like a text book with one declarative sentence after another, droning on and on and on. Carroll, whom I greatly admire, is a scientist, not a writer, and that shows in some places, but his enthusiasm for the subject matter would have brought these amazing stories to life much better than Jim Bond. I don't expect sing-song, but I do want a hint of enthusiasm in the reader's voice!! I doubt if many could stick with this all the way through with this narrator.
Publishers: don't be terrified to have authors and women narrators. You seem to think the only acceptable narrator must have a DEEP monotone. Not true!
7 of 7 people found this review helpful