Books et al.History of Science

Darwin's American ascendancy

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Science  27 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6323, pp. 356
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal4355

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Summary

Randall Fuller's lively new volume, The Book That Changed America, draws readers into the political and intellectual foment of antebellum America on the cusp of war. In just under 300 pages, he unfolds the story of how On the Origin of Species debuted in the United States on the eve of the Civil War and was read by a country torn apart by slavery and divided over whether the American union could (or should) survive the conflict. Moving deftly amid a diversity of familiar American figures, including novelists, poets, philosophers, zoologists, and botanists, Fuller captures their excitement, as well as their debates over Darwin's ideas