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In Darwin's Shadow | Michael Shermer

In Darwin's Shadow | Michael Shermer

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Virtually unknown today, Alfred Russel Wallace was the co-discoverer of natural selection with Charles Darwin and an eminent scientist who stood out among his Victorian peers as a man of formidable mind and equally outsized personality.

In this landmark biography, Michael Shermer rescues Wallace from the shadow of Darwin, restoring a leading figure in the rise of modern science to his rightful place.

We follow Wallace spending years in remote jungles, collecting astounding quantities of specimens, and writing thoughtfully about his adventures.

We also witness his supple and forceful intelligence at work, grappling with such arcane problems as the bright coloration of caterpillars, or shaping his 1858 paper on natural selection that prompted Darwin to publish (with Wallace) the first paper outlining the theory of evolution.

Shermer also shows that Wallace's self-trained intellect, while powerful, embraced surprisingly naive ideas, such as his deep interest in the study of spiritual manifestations and seances.

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