'-------------------------------------------------- Cascoly Books: Richard Dawkins and Evolution

Cascoly Books - Richard Dawkins and Evolution


Richard Dawkins has been at the forefront of science writers for over 30 years, and continues to challenge, puzzle and antagonize both scientists and lay readers. His style is brisk and entertaining, yet he can describe difficult biological concepts in easy to understand prose.

 I try to publish reviews only of books that I've read, so my coverage may sometimes be spotty.

Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins (1976 ) - One of the first popular accounts of the latest ideas in evolution, this book introduced the concept of memes and the evolution of altruism. Not an easy read, but highly recommended as it is the basis for so many books in the decades after it was published.

I've also read all of the following

The Extended Phenotype (1982) An excellent book, but the only one I don't recommend to anyone but the truly interested. It's a much more detailed denser work than any of his others, looking at the concept of 'phenotype' - the physical result of the action of genes. (Eg, while you may have genes for both blue and brown eyes, your phenotype would be brown eyes.) He extends this concept to other areas such as cognition and animal behavior in general.

Earlier books by Richard Dawkins

The Blind Watchmaker (1986)

River Out of Eden (1995)

Climbing Mount Improbable (1996)

These three books address various 'problems' that critics have described in evolution. In easy to read style, Dawkins explains the fundamentals of modern biology. Wonderful, yet easy to understand accounts of the many times the eye has evolved in various lifeforms. Or, ponder the odd story of the fig and the one species of wasp that fertilizes it, and how they have co-evolved.

The Ancestor's Tale

The Ancestor's Tale (2004) Starting at the root of the phylogenetic tree, Dawkins uses the conceit of a pilgrimage, loosely parallel to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Starting with the most primitive life forms, he traverses the tree, and at each branch collects more forms of life, but gives special treatment to one representative species. It's a fascinating book for the sheer variety of life he describes. This is the most approachable book Dawkins' has written, but its length may be offputting to some

His latest book is The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (2009) but I haven't read it yet.

The God Delusion

The God Delusion(2006) Not strictly a book on evolution, but rather Dawkins' argument for atheism. Read along with Hitchens' book God is Not Great, you'll have a firm foundation for your non-belief. These books, along with Sam Harris' The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (2004), have sparked a minor publishing avalanche of articles and books for and against atheism and religion. I've read all 3 of these, but didn't think Harris' arguments were as solid and convincing as the others.

  • The Evolution of God
  • Evolution books
  • Science Books - Reviews & Recommendations

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