Darwin's Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped Darwin's Views on Human Evolution

HMH, 11 nov. 2014 - 448 pagina's

An “arresting” and deeply personal portrait that “confront[s] the touchy subject of Darwin and race head on” (The New York Times Book Review).

It’s difficult to overstate the profound risk Charles Darwin took in publishing his theory of evolution. How and why would a quiet, respectable gentleman, a pillar of his parish, produce one of the most radical ideas in the history of human thought? Drawing on a wealth of manuscripts, family letters, diaries, and even ships’ logs, Adrian Desmond and James Moore have restored the moral missing link to the story of Charles Darwin’s historic achievement.

Nineteenth-century apologists for slavery argued that blacks and whites had originated as separate species, with whites created superior. Darwin, however, believed that the races belonged to the same human family. Slavery was therefore a sin, and abolishing it became Darwin’s sacred cause. His theory of evolution gave a common ancestor not only to all races, but to all biological life.

This “masterful” book restores the missing moral core of Darwin’s evolutionary universe, providing a completely new account of how he came to his shattering theories about human origins (Publishers Weekly, starred review). It will revolutionize your view of the great naturalist.

“An illuminating new book.” —Smithsonian

“Compelling†.†.†. Desmond and Moore aptly describe Darwin’s interaction with some of the thorniest social and political issues of the day.” —Wired

“This exciting book is sure to create a stir.” —Janet Browne, Aramont Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University, and author of Charles Darwin: Voyaging


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LibraryThing Review

Gebruikersrecensie  - stevesmits - LibraryThing

The power of Darwinism fascinates. The theory of evolution through natural selection devastated every secular and sacred shibboleth held tightly for millennia. What has most impressed me is the utter ... Volledige review lezen

LibraryThing Review

Gebruikersrecensie  - vguy - LibraryThing

Fascinating account of Darwin's intellectual milieu and motivation. I knew of the Malthus stimulus and of Wallace's nearly scooping him, but the case here is that slavery was the driver. His family ... Volledige review lezen


1 The Intimate Blackamoor
2 Racial NumbSkulls
3 All Nations of One Blood
4 Living in Slave Countries
From the Father of Man to the Father of All Mammals
Illustration of Darwins family tree of life 1837
6 Hybridizing Humans
7 This Odious Deadly Subject
11 The Secret Science Drifts from Its Sacred Cause
12 Cannibals and the Confederacy in London
13 The Descent of the Races
Illustration of Darwins family tree of primates 1868
Illustration of The logic of antislavery the gorilla is our kin
Back Matter
Back Flap
Back Cover

8 Domestic Animals and Domestic Institutions
9 Oh for Shame Agassiz
10 The Contamination of Negro Blood

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Over de auteur (2014)

Adrian Desmond has written seven other books on evolution and Victorian science, including an acclaimed biography, Huxley. An Honorary Research Fellow in the biology department at University College London, he is editing (with Angela Darwin) The T. H. Huxley Family Correspondence.

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