cover image The Reluctant Mr. Darwin

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin

David Quammen, , read by Grover Gardner. . Audio Partners, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-57270-569-2

It's easy to hear why PW named Grover Gardner Narrator of the Year in '05. He uses inflection, stress, rhythm and his rich vocal range to create an easy and often amusing conversational style. This is particularly appropriate for the modern idiom that makes Quammen's book so lively and readable. (He writes, for example, that Darwin did "a vast amount of scholarly nibbling and scribbling.") It took Darwin 21 years (and the threat that someone else might publish first) to publish his theory because almost all his contemporaries held theological views of nature, and his wife feared that she and Charles would not be united in heaven. Quammen explains that the synthesis of Darwin's theory of evolution and Gregor Mendel's genetic discoveries was essential to establish what now underpins all modern science. This short, highly readable book is as valuable as it is timely. Simultaneous release with the Norton hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 17). (July)