Planet Earth

The Tangled Bank: "The Best"--E.O. Wilson

The LoomBy Carl ZimmerJul 2, 2009 7:29 PM


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My publisher has been sending out copies of The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution to some leading biologists for possible endorsements when it comes out in October. Here's what we're hearing back so far... "The Tangled Bank is the best written and best illustrated introduction to evolution of the Darwin centennial decade, and also the most conversant with ongoing research. It is excellent for students, the general public, and even other biologists." --Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University, author of Consilience "Carl Zimmer's excursion through the evolutionary epic is without equal. His gift for the scientific narrative is on full display through The Tangled Bank, and he leads his readers onward with an energy and delight that never disappoints. This marvelous text is an extraordinary introduction to the depth and richness of evolutionary science." --Kenneth Miller, Brown University, author of Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America's Soul and co-author of Miller & Levine's Biology "Zimmer has produced a wonderfully thorough introduction to evolutionary biology. With his prose and color diagrams by leading artists produced specially for this volume, The Tangled Bank will be a powerful tool to introduce students to the explanatory power of evolution and the way that it integrates different fields of knowledge. I have no doubt that this important volume will find its way into diverse courses in the curriculum." --Neil Shubin, University of Chicago, author of Your Inner Fish "One rarely says of a textbook, 'I couldn’t put it down,' but that was how I felt reading Carl Zimmer’s Tangled Bank. Zimmer has applied his award-winning communication skills to producing a readable yet up-to-date and thorough treatment of evolutionary biology. Were I teaching evolution, this is the book I would use." -- Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center For Science Education and winner of the 2009 Stephen Jay Gould Prize "Carl Zimmer’s The Tangled Bank is a joy to read. He draws readers into the excitement of the rapidly expanding science of evolutionary biology, as he explains why life on earth is so diverse and how the web of life evolved to be so entangled. He explains, through elegant prose and beautiful illustrations, the remarkable progress that has been made in recent years in understanding the evolutionary process." --John Thompson, University of California, Santa Cruz, author of The Geographic Mosaic of Coevolution "This engagingly written and well-organized book is a wonderful introduction to evolutionary biology. It beautifully synthesizes the conceptual basis of evolutionary theory with the empirical evidence that evolution has occurred. The book is remarkably up-to-date, seamlessly moving from discussion of fossils to genomes, and nicely illustrates that evolutionary biology is a vigorous field that increasingly takes an experimental approach." -- Jonathan Losos, Harvard University [Update 7/6: Two new ones below] “In clear, accessible prose, Carl Zimmer explains how 21st century science confirms the 19th century’s most radical idea. If you want to understand life's remarkable past and uncertain future, read The Tangled Bank.” --Andrew Knoll, Harvard University, author of Life on a Young Planet: The First Three Billion Years of Evolution on Earth “Zimmer weaves cutting-edge findings and essential concepts around the personalities and adventures of the biologists themselves. The result is superb: an up-to-date, articulate, and gorgeously illustrated introduction to modern evolutionary biology. We sorely needed a text aimed at the nonmajor undergraduate, and Zimmer was exactly the right person to write it.” --Douglas J. Emlen, Professor of Biology, University of Montana To all of these biologists, many thanks from this old English major. (And, by the way, that is the final cover. Thanks to the 1018 people who cast votes on their favorite mock-ups, as well as to the many who didn't like any of them and asked, "Where's the tangled bank?" You spoke, I listened. In the end, I decided to go with Tiktaalik, but give it some extra company--both animal and vegetable--based on fossils that also date back to this sort of ecosystem 370 million years ago. Thanks to Carl Buell, as ever, for making that idea into a cover.)

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