New York Times bestselling author and renowned atheist and evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins delivers an intimate look into his own childhood and intellectual development, illuminating his path to becoming one of the foremost thinkers in modern science today
“A memoir that is funny and modest, absorbing and playful. Dawkins has written a marvelous love letter to science . . . and for this, the book will touch scientists and science-loving persons . . . Enchanting.” —NPR
Richard Dawkins’s first book, The Selfish Gene, was an immediate sensation and dramatically shifted the study of biology by offering a gene-centered view of evolution. Published in 1976, the book transformed the way we think about genes and evolution and has sold more than a million copies. In 2006, Dawkins transformed the world’s cultural and intellectual landscape again with The God Delusion, a scientific dismantling of religion. It was a New York Times bestseller and has sold more than two million copies worldwide. An Appetite for Wonder is Dawkins’s insightful memoir examining his own evolution as a man and as a thinker. From his beginnings in colonial Kenya to his intellectual awakening at Oxford, Dawkins shares his path to the creation of The Selfish Gene, and offers readers an in-depth look at the man and the mind that has changed the way we view science and evolution.
As anyone familiar with his work might expect, Dawkins's memoir is well-written, captivating, and filled with fascinating anecdotes. Beginning just prior to his birth in colonial Kenya during WWII and concluding with the groundbreaking publication of The Selfish Gene in 1976, the book illuminates the underpinnings of Dawkins's intellectual life, la Tony Judt's The Memory Chalet. He relates numerous tales from his academic life from boarding school in Kenya, to England for prep school at Chafyn Grove, public school at Oundle, and university at Balliol College at Oxford but he rarely scratches the veneer of his experiences. (To be fair, he admits he is "not a good observer," though he tries "eagerly"). Interestingly, he bemoans his tacit participation in minor acts of bullying during these school days, though he refrains from commenting on contemporary accusations of intellectual asperity. He often hints at themes that would preoccupy him later in life, including his firm atheism and opinions regarding pedagogy, but while he whets readers' appetites, he rarely sates them. Finally, Dawkins interweaves an informative gloss on natural selection with an account of the making of The Selfish Gene, whereupon he clears the table to make room for a promised second course. Hopefully that one will be more satisfying. Photos.
An Appetite For Part 2!
Entertaining, educational, and personal, Professor Dawkins provides a light-hearted history of his childhood and young adult life. The insight to science is ever present and inspiring. The only down side is I know have to wait 2 years for the next part!