Sometimes referred to as the father of biogeography, Alfred Russel Wallace is known as the co-discoverer of the theory of evolution through natural selection. A prolific author, he wrote extensively in the fields of zoology, botany, anthropology, politics and astronomy. Although he had a number of somewhat eccentric beliefs, which rendered him unpopular in certain circles, he is recognized as one of the leading figures in nineteenth-century British science. Patrick Armstrong describes Wallace’s long life – born in 1823, Wallace died on the eve of the First World War – and shows him to be, in many ways, a more interesting character than his fellow scientist Charles Darwin. This compact yet comprehensive biography takes a psychological approach, attempting to provide an insight into a man who was, for much of his life, plagued with misfortune: legal problems, extreme difficulty in obtaining full-time employment, and relationship troubles all vexed him. This critical biography unlocks the life of a restless traveller who, although obtaining only an ‘ordinary’ education, became one of the most influential scientists of his time.
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