Yesterday’s Washington Post reviewed my book together with Adrian Desmond and James Moore’s new book, Darwin’s Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin’s Views on Human Evolution. An o.k. review for me, though the “too textbooky” comment stung a bit. More important, it described Desmond and Moore’s book in detail, and in a way that will make us all want to read it. Darwin’s Sacred Cause apparently rests on the authors’ thesis that Darwin’s writings on evolution, including The Origin, were part of a detailed plan to demolish slavery by proving the common ancestry of all races. This idea, which is certainly novel, is said to be supported by detailed scholarly research (those who have read the authors’ earlier biography of Darwin—and every Darwin fan should—know how thorough these authors are and how well they write). Clearly this is a must-read book for all of us.
A footnote: although Desmond and Moore’s Darwin biography is great, I give the edge to Janet Browne’s two-volume work (link is to second volume) as the best among Darwin biographies. It is magisterial and engagingly written.