On the Origin of Species

  • by Charles Darwin
  • Narrated by Bill DeWees
  • 15 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Originally named On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin, was first published in 1859. This scientific writing, which was considered to be the groundwork of evolutionary biology, presented the theory that species developed over a line of originations through a method of natural selection. It imparted evidence that the variety of life resulted from a common descent via a branching model of evolution. Darwin incorporated facts that he had collected on the Beagle mission in the 1830s and his succeeding findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.

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Customer Reviews

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This is the 1859 British edition.

This is the 1859 British edition, and as such it is the second best edition. The 1860 British edition is slightly better in that it contains some insignificant, but non-substantive, corrections. However, the 1860 British edition is probably not available as an audio book. The editions of 1861, 1866, 1869, and 1872 are all inferior. In them Darwin made changes and expansions in an effort to meet the objections that arose during those times. The modifications expanded the book and clouded the argument. Since most of the objections that were raised would be regarded as silly today, Darwin's arguments against them are of interest for social history, but not for Darwin's theory.
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- Barry L. Wolfe

Good science, embarrassed for the narrator

What made the experience of listening to On the Origin of Species the most enjoyable?

It is thrilling to consider Darwin's conclusions about life, without the benefit of knowing about DNA, epigenetics, gene linkage, Mendelian genetics, and so on. He was right about so many things.


Who was your favorite character and why?

The pigeons! Just kidding.


How did the narrator detract from the book?

He mispronounced so many words that I am embarrassed for him. There are word substitutions that make the somewhat challenging Victorian prose impossible. That someone can get paid for such unprofessional is a disappointment.


Any additional comments?

Surely there is a better reading of this book out there? Wouldn't it be cool if the most famous biologists would do a recording? One chapter by E. O. Wilson, another by that really nice Darwin scholar/Englishman at Harvard, obviously Dawkins, James Watson...

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- Dorene Kavanagh

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-14-2010
  • Publisher: Hudson Audio Publishing