Darwin’s Sacred Cause

Adrian Desmondand James Moore,   Darwin’s Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution, Hardcover, Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2009  (List $35.00, Amazon $16.46)

“Arresting . . . confront[s] the touchy subject of Darwin and race head on . . . Adrian Desmond and JamesMoore published a highly regarded biography of Darwin in 1991 . . . the case they make is rich and intricate, involving Darwin’s encounter with race-based phrenology at Edinburgh and a religiously based opposition to slavery at Cambridge. Even Darwin’s courtship of Emma, whom he winningly called ‘the most interesting specimen in the whole series of vertebrate animals,’ is cleverly interwoven with his developing thoughts on ‘sexual selection’ . . .” – New York Times Book Review

“‘Darwinís Sacred Cause’ shows that there is still new material to be gleaned from the life of a man much picked over, and who turned the world upside down.” – Economist

“This book dispels the legend, long attached to retrospective accounts of Darwinís research, that the great scientistís interest in evolution was spurred by Galapagos finches. It was people all along . . . [Desmond and Moore] shed welcome light on lesser-known features of Darwinís work, while also providing an exceptionally crisp account of mid-nineteenth-century debates over the origins of racial differences.” – Edward J. Larson, Bookforum

“An illuminating new book.” – Smithsonian