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Alfred Russel Wallace BOOK REVIEW

Posted by David Penney on

A very nice review of our title: Alfred Russel Wallace: Explorer, Evolutionist and Public Intellectual - A thinker for our own times? by Professor Ted Benton has just been published in the latest edition of the Archives of Natural History 42.2 (Autumn 2015).

click cover to go to the product page

Some snippets of the review: "Combining expertise in sociology with detailed biological knowledge, Benton offers a stimulating intellectual history of Wallace, regarding him as a prototype of publicly- and politically-engaged science. In an era of discussions about science communication and the uncertain boundaries between professionals and public, Benton’s Wallace offers an instructive (even inspirational) example of how a scientific researcher addressed wide social and political concerns.

Most compelling is Benton’s argument for the relevance of Wallace’s socialist ideas in the current age of rising inequality. Wallace not only raged against the polarization of wealth and poverty but explored practical solutions to counter it. He proposed a detailed model of gradual land nationalization which would ameliorate the growing divide between rich owners and poor tenants. We also see the older Wallace arguing robustly against imperialism and eugenics, and in favour of votes for women. It is hard to imagine another Victorian who combined such deep scientific knowledge and expertise with such wide-ranging sympathies and political commitments.

This book will both serve as a good introduction to Wallace and provoke academic researchers to consider Wallace’s legacy from fresh angles."

...and don't forget to check out our two other Wallace titles (click the cover to go to the product page):



Dear Sir: In preparation

Alfred Russel Wallace's 1886-1887 Travel Diary:

BioScience (June 2013): For those who consider themselves Wallace aficionados, this book is essential; it is authoritative and trustworthy, and it describes a little known part of the Wallace story.

British Journal for the History of Science (2013): Wallace’s diverse interests produce a work with a broad scope of content. Furthermore, its accessibility, thanks to the additions by the editors, means that this should earn its way onto a number of institutional and individual bookshelves and be read by a number of social, political and cultural historians as well as historians of science.

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