Darwin’s Rival


Although self- trained, Alfred Russel Wallace’s formative years were the springboard for his naturalist career. Thereafter, he was inspired by and inspiration to Charles Darwin, rather than Darwin’s Rival. The two observed differentiation in species during their travels which they sought to understand. While Darwin’s travels aboard the HMS Beagle formed, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Wallace’s collections and observations supported this science.

Darwin’s Rival tells Wallace’s story, from his countryside upbringing near the River Usk and thereafter in Hertfordshire. Following time spent surveying and teaching, Wallace set sail for the Amazon. HIs insect collections for museums and collectors paid for further travels and research. By the time of his return to Britain, Wallace was widely respected for his discoveries. This led to further, more far-reaching travels in the Malay archipelago, where he collected birds of paradise, and studied species of beetle and butterfly. He wondered why animals within a close geographical location might have widely different features. Furthermore, why did some of a similar species flourish in one habitat and others, not? Wallace’s writings inspired and complemented Darwin.

This is a glorious book that is meant for poring over, wondering upon, learning and thereafter cherishing. Bookwagon is very proud to recommend Darwin’s Rival to readers of all ages.

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Darwin’s Rival

Alfred Russel Wallace and the Search for Evolution

Christiane Dorion, illustrated by Harry Tennant

(Walker Studio)– hardback

Alfred Russel Wallace is cited as Darwin’s Rival in the title, yet the two esteemed naturalists complemented each other’s research. Wallace’s early years informed an instinct for survival and ability to work alone. He explored the River Usk and Hertfordshire countryside during his childhood. Thereafter, he worked as a surveyor and teacher. Yet opportunities to observe, identify and collect inspired Wallace. Furthermore, Charles Darwin’s journal from his travels aboard HMS Beagle intrigued the would-be naturalist. Therefore, it was natural step for Wallace to work toward an expedition to the Amazon to gather specimens from this natural world. His experiences enthralled Wallace. Even when the going proved particularly difficult Wallace took advantage of the potential of his surroundings.
Following the Amazon, Wallace travelled to the Malay peninsula.  It seems as though Wallace thrived in challenging conditions such was his passion to learn and apply his knowledge. Furthermore, all the time he was putting together what he’d seen, inspired by the differences between varieties of animals species within small geographical locations. It was he who first suggested an idea of natural selection and derived the term ‘origin of the species.’
Alongside a sequenced biography of Alfred Russel Wallace, is an outstanding album of paintings and pictorial evidence of the naturalist’s travels and discoveries. Darwin’s Rival is a sumptuous, breath-taking book that Bookwagon recommends to readers of all ages.


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