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""On the Origin of Species" must be high on any serious list of the most important and influential books ever written. On its first publication in 1859, Thomas Henry Huxley exclaimed 'How extremely stupid of me not to have thought of that.' Charles Darwin's revolutionary idea is, indeed, an astoundingly simple one, especially when you measure it against the magnitude of what it explains - every fact that we know about life on Earth. Listen to "On the Origin of Species", and you immediately find yourself ushered into the presence of one of the finest minds ever to grace this planet. In this recording, which was a true labour of love, I made no attempt to act the part of Darwin, but instead worked hard, as a modern follower of Darwin, to convey the true meaning of every sentence. I even surprised myself: the exercise of reading Darwin's words aloud and identifying in very phrase the syllable that needed to be stressed, revealed to me subtleties and depths of meaning that I had missed when reading quietly to myself. I hope listeners will be enlightened in the same way. Of Darwin's six editions, I chose to abridge from the first. Surprisingly, and in many ways it is the most modern. Moreover, it is of the greatest historical interest, as being the one that actually hit the Victorian solar plexus and drove out the wind of centuries. In abridging the book, my priority was to cut those passages that are now known to be wrong, notably those concerned with genetics. I believe it is what Darwin himself would have wished. What takes my breath away as a modern biologist is how much Darwin got right. It has been well said that he worked a century and more ahead of his time." (Richard Dawkins, renowned evolutionist and scholar, is the reader of this audiobook).
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