Darwin and the Barnacle

The Story of One Tiny Creature and History's Most Spectacular Scientific Breakthrough

Rebecca Stott (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

"In Darwin and the Barnacle...ideas light up like matches on each page."—John Leonard, Harper's

A scientific detective story that illuminates the remarkable saga of Darwin's greatest achievement. Pairing Charles Darwin and a rare species of barnacle as her unlikely protagonists, Rebecca Stott has written an absorbing work of history that guides readers through the treacherous shoals of nineteenth-century biology. Beginning her scientific detective story in the 1820s, even before Darwin's Beagle voyage, Stott examines the mystery of why Darwin waited over two decades between formulating his pivotal theory of natural selection and publishing it. Lavishly illustrated, filled with riddles and concepts that challenge our notion of Victorian science, Darwin and the Barnacle is a thrilling account of how genius proceeds through indirection—and how one small item of curiosity contributed to history's most spectacular scientific breakthrough.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • June 2004
  • ISBN 978-0-393-32571-3
  • 5.5 × 8.2 in / 336 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“This is that rare book that sweeps you on from the first few pages...a brilliant performance.” — Roy Herbert, New Scientist

“Stott is skillful with many of the thematic connections here and her narration is exciting, gripping and addictively readable.” — Scarlett Thomas, Independent on Sunday

“A spellbinding story, intricate and beautifully told.” — James Moore, co-author of Darwin

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