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I Have Landed


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'Matchless examples of the strengths of a historical imagination roaming across a scientific subject' Guardian

About the Author

Stephen Jay Gould was Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. His books include Ever Since Darwin, Wonderful Life, Questioning the Millennium, Leonardo's Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms, The Lying Stones of Marrakech and, most recently, Rocks of Ages.


Gould, whose name has become synonymous with evolutionary biology, once again collects 31 essays from his Natural History column. Gould completed his 300th column for the magazine on the doubly significant 2001 millennium and centennial of his family's arrival at Ellis Island (thus the title, borrowed from his grandfather's journal entry that day). Several of these essays explore the ambiguous relations of art, science and the natural world. Gould compels readers to see the natural world outside the frame of the familiar, to seek the quirky outside the canonical, to challenge our assumptions. This is evident when he gleefully reports on the Human Genome Project, showing our genetic stuff to be only twice what a roundworm needs "to manufacture its utter, if elegant, outward simplicity." His essays affirm his belief in the power of science to overcome past error, and as always, he is intolerant of the misapplication as well as the rejection of science, dismissing left- and right-wing claims about Darwin as brusquely as he does the anti-evolutionist Kansas Board of Education, whose yellow brick road "can only spiral inward toward restriction and ignorance." Gould is at the peak of his abilities in this latest menagerie of wonders. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

This is the tenth and final anthology of Gould's essays from Natural History magazine. Through the writings in this series, Gould has influenced public opinion on science in numerous ways that other scientists, who eschew the essay as a vehicle for technical communication, cannot even approach. As in all of the volumes, Gould writes on Darwinism, evolutionary theory, the history of science, and the joys of doing scientific research. Somewhat more in this volume than in the others, he expresses his personal thoughts and experiences, such as in the titular essay and in the concluding short piece, "September 11, 2001." Some critics wince at his often turgid prose and argue that he depicts his opinions as facts, but this volume, which coincides with the publication of his magnum opus, The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, deserves to be celebrated as a career accomplishment. Gould's many fans and foes alike should congratulate him for these achievements and also for having the grace to know when to move on. This anthology belongs in all public and academic libraries. Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Albany Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Gems of evolutionary and natural-history wisdom -- Steven Rose * Sunday Times *
Not only one of the finest scientific minds of the later 20th century, but also one of its greatest polymaths... A wonderfully eclectic collection-a fine introduction to a brilliant mind * The Times *
It is hard to think of any one else with this combination of polymathic ability and of sheer cheek...original and controversial...quintessentially revealing * Spectator *
This is not a book for the bedside table. It sets the mind racing too wildly for sleep * New Scientist *
High in emotion and rich in historical perspective-one of our most gifted and productive science writers... He pioneered an explosion in the popularisation of science but has never been bettered in the process -- Robin McKie * Observer *

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