Toe-breaker or epoch-maker?
- Toe-breaker or epoch-maker?
John R. G. Turner
THE STRUCTURE OF EVOLUTIONARY THEORY
By Stephen Jay Gould
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, £27.50, pp.1433, ISBN:0674006135
I HAVE LANDED: THE END OF A BEGINNING IN EVOLUTIONARY HISTORY
by Stephen Jay Gould
Cape, £17.99, pp. 418, ISBN 0224062999
One of James Thurber's stories tells of a national hero, a previously unknown
aerial pioneer, who opens his press conference on return from the first
non-stop circumnavigation of the globe with 'Youse guys can tell the cockeyed
world dat I put it over on Lindbergh, see?' Gould's claim is that he has done
the same for Charles Darwin: that he (along with two other 'musketeers', Niles
Eldredge and Elizabeth Vrba) has revised Darwin's theory of evolution so
radically as effectively to replace it. The Structure of Evolutionary Theory,
at a metatarsal-busting 1,400 pages, is his bid to validate that very
substantial boast. He makes a good job of it.