An Alfred Russel Wallace Companion

Editorial Reviews

“Crackpot or passionate polymath? History has tended to put Wallace in the former category, but one lesson that I have learned from the Companion is that he belongs solidly in the latter one. Well informed, persistently rigorous, and inventive in his thinking, and unfailingly compassionate, Wallace was the prototypical socially engaged scientist. He is—or at least should be—an inspiration to us all.” ― Current Biology

“This volume is a good introduction to Wallace and his thinking, and I recommend it to anyone who wants an overall picture of one of the more fascinating figures of 19th-century science.” — Michael Ruse ― The Quarterly Review of Biology

“This book shows the majesty of Wallace’s eclectic mind; it is well researched and well written…This work is a valuable, and most appropriate, contribution to Wallace scholarship.” — Patrick Armstrong ― Metascience

“The Companion is superbly edited and features essays describing how Wallace collected natural history specimens, developed a theory of evolution by natural selection, and helped establish the field of biogeography. . . . The volume includes several more essays about the influences that shaped Wallace’s views on human evolution, and one about his role as a social critic that exposes certain mere controversial aspects of his career. Ideally suited for historians of natural history. Highly recommended.” ― Choice

An Alfred Russel Wallace Companion is a truly comprehensive examination of the ruminations and writings of one of the most remarkable men of the Victorian era, the co-discoverer of the theory of natural selection with Charles Darwin. This book is so thorough in its analysis of a protean mind that it is difficult to imagine that it will or can be surpassed. Anyone interested in the history of science, and in particular evolutionary theory and the foundations of biogeography, will find this collection of essays enlightening and thought-provoking. Even at his least convincing, his embrace of Spiritualism and anti-vaccinationism, Wallace the revolutionary is evident. The authors rightly argue that his concerns for social justice, the degradation of the planet, and humans’ place in the universe make him relevant today, even if some of his ideas, based on the best data available to him at the time, may be outdated.” — Ross A. Slotten, author of “The Heretic in Darwin’s Court: The Life of Alfred Russel Wallace”

“Given the disparate nature of its subject’s intellectual pursuits, this collection of scholarship on Wallace is inevitably eclectic. Usefully synthetic, it provides the hugely significant service of bringing together many disparate strands of Wallaceana in a single location. Wallace has a special need for this kind of treatment because of the breadth of his interests. If you’re interested in Darwin, you need only check out the history of biology literature; if, however, you’re interested in Wallace, you are compelled to hunt up references in far-flung areas—in the history of biology, history of medicine, history of economics, and in political history. An Alfred Russel Wallace Companion brings all this together in one place.” — Andrew Berry, Harvard University, editor of “Infinite Tropics: An Alfred Russel Wallace Anthology”

“Although, as a biogeographer, I have taken an interest in Wallace for many years, I learned a great many new things about him and his times by reading these chapters, both in terms of details and of broad issues. He was quite a remarkable individual, and certainly deserves far more attention than he has received in recent decades. This book should do much to rectify that lack of attention. It will quickly come to represent a major milestone in what we know about Wallace and his contributions.” — Lawrence R. Heaney, Negaunee Curator of Mammals, Field Museum of Natural History

The University of Chicago Press