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I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History

I Have Landed The End of a Beginning in Natural History Here is bestselling scientist Stephen Jay Gould s tenth and final collection based on his remarkable series for Natural History magazine exactly consecutive essays with never a month missed publ

  • Title: I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History
  • Author: Stephen Jay Gould
  • ISBN: 9781400048045
  • Page: 257
  • Format: Paperback
  • Here is bestselling scientist Stephen Jay Gould s tenth and final collection based on his remarkable series for Natural History magazine exactly 300 consecutive essays, with never a month missed, published from 1974 to 2001 Both an intellectually thrilling journey into the nature of scientific discovery and the most personal book he has ever published, I Have Landed markHere is bestselling scientist Stephen Jay Gould s tenth and final collection based on his remarkable series for Natural History magazine exactly 300 consecutive essays, with never a month missed, published from 1974 to 2001 Both an intellectually thrilling journey into the nature of scientific discovery and the most personal book he has ever published, I Have Landed marks the end of a significant chapter in the career of one of the most acclaimed and widely read scientists of our time Gould writes about the themes that have defined his career, which his readers have come to expect and celebrate, casting new light upon them and conveying the ideas that science professionals exchange among themselves minus the technical jargon Here, of course, is Charles Darwin, from his centrality to any sound scientific education to little known facts about his life Gould touches on subjects as far reaching and disparate as feathered dinosaurs, the scourge of syphilis and the frustration of the man who identified it, and Freud s evolutionary fantasy He writes brilliantly of Nabokov s delicately crafted drawings of butterflies and the true meaning of biological diversity And in the poignant title essay, he details his grandfather s journey from Hungary to America, where he arrived on September 11, 1901 It is from his grandfather s journal entry of that day, stating simply I have landed, that the book s title was drawn This landing occurred 100 years to the day before our greatest recent tragedy, also explored, but with optimism, in the concluding section of the book Presented in eight parts, I Have Landed begins with a remembrance of a moment of wonder from childhood In Part II, Gould explains that humanistic disciplines are not antithetical to theoretical or applied sciences Rather, they often share a commonality of method and motivation, with great potential to enhance the achievements of each other, an assertion perfectly supported by essays on such notables as Nabokov and Frederic Church Part III contains what no Gould collection would be complete without his always compelling mini intellectual biographies, which render each subject and his work deserving of reevaluation and renewed significance In this collection of figures compelling and strange, Gould exercises one of his greatest strengths, the ability to reveal a significant scientific concept through a finely crafted and sympathetic portrait of the person behind the science Turning his pen to three key figures Sigmund Freud, Isabelle Duncan, and E Ray Lankester, the latter an unlikely attendee of the funeral of Karl Marx he highlights the effect of the Darwinian revolution and its resonance on their lives and work Part IV encourages the reader through what Gould calls intellectual paleontology to consider scientific theories of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in a new light and to recognize the limitations our own place in history may impose on our understanding of those ideas Part V explores the op ed genre and includes two essays with differing linguistic formats, which address the continual tug of war between the study of evolution and creationism In subsequent essays, in true Gould fashion, we are treated to moments of good humor, especially when he leads us to topics that bring him obvious delight, such as Dorothy Sayers novels and his enduring love of baseball and all its dramas There is an ardent admiration of the topsy turvy world of Gilbert and Sullivan wonderfully demonstrated in the jacket illustration , who are not above inclusion in all things evolutionary This is truly Gould s most personal work to date How fitting that this final collection should be his most revealing and, in content, the one that reflects most clearly the complexity, breadth of knowledge, and optimism that characterize Gould himself I Have Landed succeeds in reinforcing Gould s underlying and constant theme from the series commencement thirty years ago the study of our own scientific, intellectual, and emotional evolution bringing reader and author alike to what can only be described as a brilliantly written and very natural conclusion From the Hardcover edition.

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    1 thought on “I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History

    1. Why Not in Wonderland?Once again, I have taken up a book of Stephen Jay Gould's essays. There is no doubt that he was one of the best essayists of our times, writing with humor, intelligence and feeling, But there is one theme that comes up far too often in his later essays to be ignored. This theme is best summarized in his own words: "these two great tools of human understanding [science and religion] operate in a complementary (not contrary) fashion in their totally separate realms: science a [...]

    2. I enjoy reading Gould, and respect his efforts to avoid "dumbing down" and oversimplifying discussions in his essays but I do believe his description of himself as a "street kid" is fairly silly, and he does insist on it so in this collection. This was one of those books which I could not resist arguing with the author in pencil in the margins.

    3. This was first of its kind on my reading shelve. Extremely difficult to swallow in the beginning and to adjust to author's style of writing. Recommended only if you are interested in natural history.

    4. Numerologists would boggle at this book’s various numerical coincidences, as does Gould himself. First, as the title suggests, this is the last of his books of essays from the journal Natural History. It is also neatly the tenth such book. Moreover, there were exactly 300 such essays, one published in every issue for 30 years, with not "one missed," as Gould says, “despite cancer, hell, high water or the World Series.” There is also a quarter-century between his first popular book and firs [...]

    5. The usual mixture of essays. Most of them connected in one way or another to Darwin. He mentions that Origin was published in 1859 probably around 50 times. Some personal stuff, like the title about his grandfather arriving in America on 9/11 in 1901. And about the other event 100 years later.One about Nabokov, arguing that he would have been or was a scientist that surpasses his fame as a novelist. I liked the essay about the only guy present at Marx’ funeral who was not a socialist but a fir [...]

    6. La ciencia se inmiscuye en todos los resquicios de nuestras vidas: la luz que incide en la retina; el impacto de un libro contra el suelo; el hierro en la sangre y el calcio en los huesos, todo, todo tiene una explicación, aun cuando no un propósito. Incluso la religión es una especie de tótem opuesto a ese pulpo inconmensurable que es la ciencia, un tótem más macizo para unos, más endeble para otros. Y pese a la universalidad de la ciencia, no todos tenemos las aptitudes para ser cientí [...]

    7. This is the tenth and final collection of essays from Stephen Jay Gould, with most of these essays coming from his regular monthly essay in Natural History magazine. And I am quite sorry that I have read all of the collections, for that means an era has ended in my reading life. But these essays in this current volume, most having to do with some aspect of natural history and / or evolution, are very good, and in some cases, very personal; and I recommend this book without reservation.The title [...]

    8. Not for the faint of heart: these assorted short essays explore a variety of scientific and ethical topics. Gould liked to use simultaneous stories from two or more seemingly unrelated fields to explore deeper truths common to both. The book begins with the coincidence that his grandfather landed in the United States on 9/11/1901, exactly 100 years prior to the horrendous attack on the Twin Towers. Gould defends the tedious rigors of biological taxonomy and its contribution to the advancement of [...]

    9. I feel guilty for not liking this book. Stephen Jay Gould is brilliant and well-read and well-spoken and highly respected in both his field and as a popular essayist. But I hate this book. There's hardly an essay therein that I was able to read in its entirety. Gould is much too long-winded; couple that with a fascination for minutia and obscure historical subjects, and your eyes glaze over and you find yourself skipping to every third word (then every other paragraph, then conclusion). And fran [...]

    10. Like many people, I am an admirer of Stephen Jay Gould. This collection of essays, like many of his works is full of wonder, passion and consideration. He explores many topics, researches into the history of things to show how ideas change -- and like the slow movement of geological time, so with the generations do our ideas change too. Gould muses on them, reflects on them and often presents how he thinks we can do better.There isn't much overarching philosophy here. Gould is pretty focused on [...]

    11. I loved the ideas and content of the essays, as well as the so many facts and observations enriching them and the so many relations presented between science and many other fields (arts, history, anthropology), but found Gould's writing quite dense, quite often. So, despite loving the content, I didn't enjoyed the whole reading process as much, which resulted in turn in a long procrastination to finish the book. The book is divided into 9 sections, throughout most of which (but not in all) evolu [...]

    12. I don't think I would have found this book as fascinating if the author were not such a skilled writer. I think I said this in my last review, but he has to have been the most well-rounded man on the planet. He has such a wide range of knowledge: science, of course, Russian literature, landscaping, baseball, Gilbert and Sullivan, the Alamo, etc. He is my new answer to the question, "If you could invite one person, living or dead, to dinner who would it be?" And his essays on September 11, where [...]

    13. S.J. Gould e` come sempre pomposo, ma questa volta meno interessante del solito. Preferisco le altre raccolte dei suoi saggi. Adoro le microstorie, ma qui sono farcite di correlazioni non sempre rilevanti: si ha l'impressione (piu' che in altri suoi saggi) di un gratuito sfoggio di compiaciuta erudizione. Interessante la nozione che Freud avrebbe basato parte delle sue teorie sull'assunto, allora in voga (e poi rivelatosi infondato e assolutamente erroneo) che l'ontogenesi ricapitoli la filogene [...]

    14. It was with bittersweetness that I read Gould's final collection of Natural History essays. I started with his first, Ever Since Darwin, and read every collection. I learned a great deal about evolution and natural history. It instilled a love for the genre and I've gone on to read other authors in the field, Sean Carroll and Neil Shubin come to mind. Gould and Sagan were two of the giants popularizing science when I was growing up. We will not see their like again, but we do see variations on a [...]

    15. A beautiful collection of Gould's writing. Been thinking a lot about wonder recently, and think that he does a phenomenal job of conveying his own sense of wonder and inspiring others to ponder the world about them as well. Especially liked the essay on Nabokov and conventions and Gilbert and Sullivan and Karl Marx's connection with Darwinism and well, pretty much all of them. Since the book is a collection of articles, it's easy to read them one at a time, in no particular order. And where you [...]

    16. Dikasih sama Pius. Esai-esai tentang evolusi. Nggak gitu asyik, tapi ada satu tulisan tentang kehadiran seorang ilmuwan Darwinis pada pemakaman Karl Marx yang hanya dihadiri segelintir orang. Konon, Marx mengirim kopian Das Capital kepada Darwin, malah minta Darwin ikut nulis satu bab, tapi ditolak sama Darwin. Setelah baca di jurnal kiri Inggris, ternyata penulis buku ini termasuk lingkaran akademis Marxis di Inggris. Pantes aja.

    17. What a delight.My only complaint is the graph on p. 380. That zoomed-in x-axis is just as misleading as all the "bell-curve"-esque osik he's debunking. Was disheartening to see this.I haven't read any of his essay collections before, only Ontogeny and Phylogeny. But am now even more convinced the world lost Dr. Gould's great mind and spirit far too soon. I will almost certainly be delving into more of his essays.

    18. Interesting little tour through Gould’s essays although there was nothing here I strongly connected with. The best was definitely last, “The Great Physiologist of Heidelberg,” on the misguided classifications of race and the consequences of unfortunate ethnocentrism, even by those, like the eponymous Tiedemann, who’ve tried to correct the mistakes.

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