The Voyage of Beagle

Imagine 170 years ago, a group of people sailed from England, crossing the Atlantic, arriving at the shore of South America to explore today’s Brazil and Argentina. They met indigenous people and Spanish colonists. Imagine our main hero, who ventured into the inland, lived and interacted with local people, collecting plants and animal specimen to sent back to British museums.

Our hero in this story is Charles Darwin, who demonstrated remarkable bravery and dedication to his work.

I am taken by Darwin’s fluid writing and his keen observation on both nature and human society. I marvel at Darwin’s diligent and meticulous way in doing his research, and his courage of venturing into desert, onto steep mountains and islands. He took the risk of being robbed by bandits but still continued his journey inland. He coudld also be attached by wild animals, yet he moved ahead.

As I listen to the audio book, I was deeply moved by how this naturalist/scientist conducted his survey and research. As he seeked all his evidence, collected new information, and constantly learned about the land, plants, geological change, he created hypotheses. He verified them from all angles and put forth irrefutable theory and evidence. In the voyage, Darwin investigated the formation of coral reefs and created a theory that still holds true today.

The sweeping landscape of the whole globe, from England, through Atlantic Ocean, to South America, the Pacific islands, New Zealand, Australia, Indian Ocean and South Africa are all vividly described in this book. It is indeed a true voyage. It tells the power and wide reach the British empire had at that time. Which country can have such sweeping interests on such global scale? Citizens from Britain went to every corner of the world, and most of those places were newly discovered and uncivilized at that time.  The voyage of beagle is a vivid account of British sea power at that time, and its scientific expedition. It is thus natural that the evolutional theory is developed by a British naturalist, who went with British vessel, circling the whole global, and seeing every part of the world landscape and living creatures.

While the external condition provides fertile ground for a British naturalist to come up with evolution theory, a theory that is so sweeping and profound, it is up to a man who has the capacity to do this job. Another naturalist may pick up bits and pieces, but it is Darwin and his penetrating intellectual vigor and his hard work make such a theory possible.

The curiosity and research scope of Darwin is amazing. He is interested in every plant, every living animal, and the land and sea where they inhabit. He is interested in the geological formation and change. He could explore rocks for hours, or meticulously collected 8 different kinds of insects in one expedition. He observed spiders and their habits, he studied birds and locus. He observed people, tribes, and local governments too. If he devotes his attention to human society, he could have been an excellent social scientist. I was awed by Darwin’s intellectual capacity.

Listen to this book, you will never be disappointed and your life is forever enriched.

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1 Comment

  1. Eric

     /  November 21, 2010

    I have never heared about this book before, but I am verry interrested in stories about naturalists and explorers.
    How much have you paid fore this book ?


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