“One general law, leading to the advancement of all organic beings, namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die”
The nineteenth-century theory of evolution that revolutionised the world, adapted and narrated by Richard Dawkins
“On the Origin of Species must be high on any serious list of the most important and influential books ever written. On its first publication in 1859, Thomas Henry Huxley exclaimed ‘How extremely stupid of me not to have thought of that.’ Charles Darwin’s revolutionary idea is, indeed, an astoundingly simple one, especially when you measure it against the magnitude of what it explains - every fact that we know about life on Earth.
Listen to On the Origin of Species, and you immediately find yourself ushered into the presence of one of the finest minds ever to grace this planet. In this recording, which was a true labour of love, I made no attempt to act the part of Darwin, but instead worked hard, as a modern follower of Darwin, to convey the true meaning of every sentence. I even surprised myself: the exercise of reading Darwin’s words aloud and identifying in very phrase the syllable that needed to be stressed, revealed to me subtleties and depths of meaning that I had missed when reading quietly to myself. I hope listeners will be enlightened in the same way.
Of Darwin’s six editions, I chose to abridge from the first. Surprisingly, and in many ways it is the most modern. Moreover, it is of the greatest historical interest, as being the one that actually hit the Victorian solar plexus and drove out the wind of centuries. In abridging the book, my priority was to cut those passages that are now known to be wrong, notably those concerned with genetics. I believe it is what Darwin himself would have wished. What takes my breath away as a modern biologist is how much Darwin got right. It has been well said that he worked a century and more ahead of his time.”
Richard Dawkins, renowned evolutionist and scholar, is the reader of this audiobook.
“Dawkins reads engagingly and the whole effect is like David Attenborough without the pictures.”
the Sunday Times
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“The listener is left aghast at just how much Darwin got right.”
rachel Redford, The Observer
Charles Darwin (1809-82) was an English naturalist and author, who achieved international fame for his ground-breaking theory of evolution.
Reader and adaptor for audio, Richard Dawkins is a Professor of Science at Oxford University and the author of best-selling books on Darwinian evolution, including The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion.