Book Review: Voyage of the Beagle, by Charles Darwin

voyage_beagle_coverOver the summer, my family visited the Galapagos Islands. Fascinated by the diversity of the animals and ecosystems, I came home and read Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin.

The entire book documents the second voyage of HMS Beagle, which sailed around the world visiting different lands. The original purpose of the voyage was to survey the coasts of South America. While the seamen surveyed, Darwin would embark on land to observe the geography and wildlife. Based on the observations of animal diversity, Charles Darwin eventually developed his theory of evolution. Famed for its controversial ideas, his newly published book quickly gained fame.

Darwin’s story begins in 1821. The entire book consists of multiple journal entries, each documenting his observations of the surrounding geology and ecosystems. Similar to a scientific journal, Darwin describes the fine details of many plants and animals. Besides his botanical reports, the story is much like any other entertaining novel. After all, Darwin did circumnavigate the globe, exploring relatively uncharted regions.

Galapagos Islands

photo of Galapagos Islands birds by flickr user Michael R. Perry

Even though Charles Darwin didn’t think of his theory of evolution during the journey, it is clear that his thought process was hinting towards it. For example, Darwin stated that it seemed as though the animals there were merely a modified version of a previous creature. Reading this book, I could really tell that Charles Darwin was a very intelligent person. His skills in observation and deduction are considerable for a person in his twenties. He has a very distinct personality that shows in his book, particularly influenced by the time period in which this was written.

Considering the scientific importance and the controversy, Voyage of the Beagle is an excellent read for everyone. Although the language is almost two centuries old, most of the sections are fairly easy to understand. Sometimes I skimmed over the botanic studies and documentations, but most of the book was still adventurous enough for me. So, if you want to learn how the idea of evolution came to life, this exotic adventure is perfect for you.

-Phillip X., 8th grade

1 thought on “Book Review: Voyage of the Beagle, by Charles Darwin

  1. Awesome job! As someone who is fascinated by Darwin and his work, this makes me want to pick up this book, just to see his progression of thought if nothing else. I wonder how this compares to On the Origin of Species, any thoughts? Also, I’d recommend you pick up Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut, a novel which I reviewed awhile back. It’s fictional, but makes great use of Darwin, as the title would suggest.

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