There is no doubt that Charles Darwin made many helpful scientific contributions in his lifetime. In the book, “The Man and His Influence”, Peter J. Bowler reveals Darwin’s accomplishments through a series of organized chapters and subchapters that thoroughly explain how Darwin was able to make these remarkable discoveries. Readers will be able to grasp Darwin’s scientific concepts and learn about his lifetime. INSERT INFO, Bowler is able to show how Charles Darwin’s contributions influence modern science today. Some of the ideas discussed in this book include: evolutionism, transmutation, selection theory and natural selection.
These ideas were established through stories of Charles Darwin’s adventures. Charles Darwin was born on February 9th 1805 in Shrewsbury. He was able to inherit family fortune, which allowed him to avoid the necessity of earning a living. Erasmus Darwin, Charles Darwin’s grandfather, helped shape his scientific ideas. Darwin’s sisters “knew and loved the Bible”, thus influencing his thoughts on creation. (Bowler 38) Charles sailed across the Pacific Ocean in 1831. While stopping at inhabited islands throughout this journey, Darwin was able to study the species and come to the belief of evolutionism.
In 1865 Charles Darwin presented his book, “The Origin of Species” to the public. This book received many criticisms so Darwin revised it multiple times. There was a lot of controversy over many of his theories. Religion and political views were also challenges Darwin had to face. Although many people did not accept Darwin’s scientific ideas, he was still able to make a large impact in history that is still talked about today. The book started off by giving an overall summary of Darwin’s life and his accomplishments.
The first chapter of the book was mostly about common beliefs and misconceptions about Darwin. It also contained the opinions that individuals had on Charles Darwin and why they thought that. The second chapter focused on the theory of evolution before the Origin of Species and some of Darwin’s other accomplishments. These two chapters gave an overview of what the book would be about and what the readers can expect as they continue reading on. After these two chapters, the book went in chronological order, starting with the birth of Charles Darwin and ending with his death.
I liked how Bowler presented these first two chapters because it was nice to be familiar with Darwin and some of his achievements before reading in detail about them. The author wrote each chapter about a particular event in Darwin’s lifetime, then divided the chapter into two subchapters. This allows the reader to get a grasp of the main idea of the chapter, then read in detail about how that idea came about and why it is important. The two subchapters were usually not relevant to each other, however, they did make up the important theme that the author was trying to get across that chapter.
By using this structure, Peter J. Bowler is able to create a consistent and organized way of dispersing the information to the reader. This well written biography presents the information about Charles Darwin in a detailed and descriptive way. The diction of the book is formal and uses words that are well suited for each sentence. Specific terms are used throughout the book opposed to general terms. This gives the reader a clear understanding of the information rather than having the reader guess what the author is trying to say.
The syntax used in this novel was helpful because it made the information easy to understand. The sentence length for the most part was long. However, in sentences that were more complex and difficult to understand, the author chose short sentences. This helps break down the complexity and allows the reader to remain their focus. The author pieced together the descriptive and challenging words into sentences suited for high school and college level students, as young readers would be unaware with most of the challenging words. The book was written at a challenging level for ordinary readers and students.
However, it was able to show the cumbersome problems that face special historians today. The information may be difficult for some readers to obtain, but for people who have an interest in the history of our world or the field of science should be able to read the book without encountering problems. Even though the books main purpose is to show the impact Charles Darwin has made, it does a great job describing the history before Darwin’s discoveries. Bowler mentions the works of previous scientists and their accomplishments. Then the book goes into detail about how these scientists influenced Darwin’s ideas.
This way, it persuades the reader that Charles was of much importance while giving other scientists credit. It also allows the reader to understand what scientists thought before Darwin’s time and how he was able to branch off of their ideas to come up with ones of his own. Darwin’s theories were very controversial. The book went in-depth about the issues with religion and politics. This showed that society sometimes did not accept Darwin’s theories and he had to have a strong worth ethic to gain supporters. It also showed what society’s beliefs were in that time period and how they evolved throughout time.
Bowler, a historian, explained the evolutionary thought of late Victorian times in different chapters throughout the novel. He wanted history to be important as well as science in this novel and he did a good job balancing the two subjects. In the Victorian time, there was a lot of controversy over Darwin’s ideas. The book went into detail about how the contemporaries were not very accepting towards Darwin’s theories. Peter J. Bowler talks about this subject in a persuasive way. His tone becomes gloomy and he writes about the credit Darwin didn’t receive for his ideas.
By doing this it encourages the reader to feel appreciative of Darwin and past scholars. One of the main ideas of this book is to reinvent the readers view on Charles Darwin and to help them understand why he is important to us today. Although most of the book was written about the past accomplishments of Darwin, Bowler made many valid points about how the legacy of Darwin lives on. Just as Darwin had branched off of previous scientist’s work, modern scientists are branching off of Darwin’s ideas as well. The book focuses on how the past scientific contributions have affected modern science today.
Without these helpful discoveries and ideas we would not be where we are today in the field of science. The last twenty-nine pages of the book give credit to where Peter J. Bowler got the information from. It lists notes about key information that would not have necessarily fit into the context of the book. I found this useful because it helped me understand difficult concepts and interpret challenging words. A bibliography and index can also be found at the back of the book. The index was useful because it allowed me to easily find information that I read about.
Modern science has been heavily influenced by Charles Darwin’s discoveries. The book “The Man and His Influence” shows why individuals should appreciate the work of Charles Darwin. Overall, I thought the book was interesting and contained information about the key points in Darwin’s lifetime. It was written at a level of complexity that most high school and above readers could understand and retain the information. I would recommend this book to challenge seeking students and readers who have a deep interest in history and science.