This is history as you long to read it, charismatic, concise and unputdownable. Horatio Clare
The young Charles Darwin was like a young Indiana Jones. For five years in his mid-twenties, he sailed on the BEAGLE around the world, exploring jungles, climbing mountains, trekking across deserts. With every new landfall, he had new adventures: he rode through bandit country, was thrown into jail by revolutionaries, took part in an armed raid with marines, survived two earthquakes, hunted and fished. He suffered the terrible cold and rain of Tierra del Fuego, the merciless heat of the Australian outback and the inner pangs of heartbreak. He also made the discoveries that finally led him to formulate his theory of Natural Selection as the driving force of evolution. The five-year voyage of the BEAGLE was the basis for all Darwin's later work; but it also turned him from a friendly idler into the greatest scientist of his century.
Kevin Jackson is a writer, broadcaster and film-maker. His most recent book is Constellation of Genius: 1922 and All That Jazz (Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2013). He lives in Cambridge, England.