Charles Darwin's account of his journey to South America is a detailed daily account of his trip and the detail and accuracy with which he describes the scenes is truly remarkable. The fact that Darwin compiled and published his actually travel log from his trip presents the modern day reader with a unique view into Darwin during his formative years. The adventures and dangers that the young Darwin encounters on his epic journey show a side of the great scientists that I hadn’t thought of when I think of the most famous photograph of the frosty-bearded and mysterious scientist dressed all in black.
While reading his accounts, and the great detail involved in his observation it is easier to understand the uniqueness that such an acute attention to detail brings Darwin as a scientist. Darwin’s observations and reflections span from the behavior and appearance of certain birds and insects, to the strata in mountainous cliffs, to the habits and differences among various indigenous groups. The ways Darwin forms relations among such groups gives us insight into the synthesizing power of his mind. It is this very synthesizing power which aids him later in his ultimate formulation of the theory of evolution. I give Darwin’s “Voyage of the Beagle” four and a half out of five stars.