One of the best books on evolution to come out in this year of Darwin celebrations, Sean Carroll's Remarkable Creatures, is a National Book Award finalist. Read my review, and then go read the book. It covers science history you probably haven't read about, and, from a stylistic perspective, it is very well written. Most pop science authors who are scientists themselves write pedestrian prose, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, and Stephen Jay Gould being notable exception. Sagan and Gould are deceased, so it's nice to see Carroll enter the ring as a scientist who care not just about communication, but also about the craft of writing beautifully. Here's the summary from the National Book Award page:
Just 150 years ago, most of our world was an unexplored wilderness. Our sense of its age was vastly off the mark, and what we believed to be the history of our own species consisted of fantastic myths and fairy tales. How did we learn so much so quickly? Remarkable Creatures celebrates the pioneers who replaced our fancies with the even more incredible true story of how our world evolved. Sean B. Carroll and his cast of naturalists take readers on a rousing voyage through the most dramatic adventures and important discoveries in two centuries of natural history.
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