An eye-opening chronicle of discovery - a narrative that traces the surprising evolution of Darwin's genius and celebrates the unexpected rewards of close observation of the natural world.
Charles Darwin was a bumbling neophyte naturalist when he boarded the Beagle in 1831. Through the five years that followed, as the ship hugged the coastline of South America, Darwin found himself crawling through waist-deep mud, climbing towerlike trees in the rainforest, and scaling craggy Patagonian cliffs as he collected specimens and closely observed the relationship between the creatures he stalked and the astonishing, utterly unfamiliar landscapes where he found them.
What happened to Darwin? That's the question Lyanda Lynn Haupt compellingly explores in a narrative that puts us inside the young Darwin's shoes - and brings nose to nose with dung beetles, ostriches, and all form of wild creatures. By mining Darwin's lesser-known works - diaries, correspondence, his ornithological journals, unruly little pocket notebooks - Haupt illuminates the process that shaped Darwin's vision of the workings of nature. Her book not only chronicles Darwin's transformation from uncertain amateur to genius but reminds us how and why, in our own world as well as Darwin's, attention to small things can make a big difference.