Richard Dawkins is one of the finest minds in science, and in this superb collection of essays and letters, he demonstrates the depth of his knowledge and the rich variety of his interests. Whether he is examining postmodernism or the Human Genome Project, penning a letter to his daughter, or writing a moving eulogy to Douglas Adams and e-mailing Stephen Jay Gould, Dawkins writes with an intellectual vigour and grace that is second to none. This is a very human collection that shows not only the acuity of Dawkins' scientific mind, but also his sense of humour and the warmth of his relationships with friends and family.
Richard Dawkins has never been content to be 'merely' a scientist. His writing has always had a personal edge - often more philosophy than biology. It's no surprise then that this is no ordinary collection of academic essays and learned theses. Instead, what we are presented with is a selection of very intimate articles and critical commentaries written by Dawkins over a 25-year period. The title comes from a letter written by Charles Darwin, in which he debated how an omnipotent and just God could have designed such an intolerably cruel and violent process as natural selection. This is the type of subject which those familiar with Dawkins's previous works (The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker) will know is his meat and drink. Here, however, we have a chance to view a much broader selection of his writings. Dawkins is, as his fans will know, a man with an axe to grind, and in this selection he happily holds forth on a wide range of topics, from Douglas Adams to religion. Most of these essays are written for the non-scientist. Many are deeply personal. But all are written with Dawkins's unmistakable passion, irritation and humour. Of course, these essays are not new, but they have been selected so carefully and thoughtfully that together they form a highly readable retrospective of not just Dawkins's work but also his life. More importantly, what people may have missed in Dawkins's writing previously shines out here - namely, that while he subscribes to Darwinism as a scientist, he fiercely rejects it as a human being, demanding again and again that we aspire to greater things. (Kirkus UK)
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: October 2006
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 12.9 x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.26