The Book Depository The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace

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The Book Depository The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace
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Description: The Malay Archipelago : Paperback : Penguin Books Ltd : 9780141394404 : 0141394404 : 05 Feb 2015 : Of all the Victorian travelogues, this book offers an account of some eight years' travel across the entire Malay world - from Singapore to the western edges of New Guinea - and as the record of a great mind. The Book Depository The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace - shop the best deal online on thebookbug.co.uk

 

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Author: M. Dowden

Rating: 5

Review: When this was originally published in this country it was presented in two volumes, however this Penguin edition has been condensed into one book, and so an appendix ‘On the Crania and the Languages of the Races of Man in the Malay Archipelago’ has been removed from this. As it is pointed out to us though, this mainly consisted of words rendered phonetically from the different languages of the area, and so not the most wonderful reading for most people. Alfred Russel Wallace is of course known to all of us as his paper on evolution through natural selection was presented along with Darwin’s, and thus also prompted Darwin to publish his ‘On the Origin of Species’. The Malay Archipelago here does touch on times to evolutionary theory, and also to his way of thinking, and thus what is known as the Wallace Line. Although always popular when first published it was belittled by certain publications due to evolution, natural selection and uniformitarianism, so negative reviews were more along political and theological lines. Despite its age this book has had strong influences on many and remains popular to this day as it is still such a fascinating read. Packed with maps and illustrations there is quite a bit to take in visually, as well as the writing. Wallace gives us a book that is in some parts travel writing, in others the observations of a naturalist, anthropology, geology, geography and so on, so there is quite a lot of information to take in, but which really brings this part of the world alive at the time the author was there. Of course, Wallace was a man of his time with regards to certain aspects, such as the supposed superiority of Europeans and our benevolent treatment of natives around the world, but in other areas he was ahead of his time, such as in evolutionary theory and other aspects. We end up with then an interesting read that not only takes in the flora and fauna of the islands that make up the archipelago, but also with incidents, and how he found the natives to act to certain aspects of their lives and the encroachment of colonialism. Nowadays of course we take cameras and take photos of animals and plants, but back when this was written of course you shot or caught animals for collectors, museums and zoos, as well as bringing plants back to places such as Kew. Nowadays this also has another dimension as we worry about global warming, because we can see the impact on the land that the natives had, compared to those of Europeans, as we tried to build coal mines and so on as well as bringing other aspects of our lives with us.

 

Author: Eli Pledge

Rating: 4

Review: An interesting book, perhaps a little dull at times. Quite an eye opener in many ways, the man was vastly under rated in his own time as he is now.

 

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