Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lincoln and Darwin - Born 200 Years Ago Today

Today, as I was listening to an NPR story on Charles Darwin (Death Of Child May Have Influenced Darwin's Work by Robert Krulwich), I was reminded of a book that I saw recently:

Angels and Ages: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life (Hardcover)
by Adam Gopnik

On a memorable day in human history, February 12, 1809, two babies were born an ocean apart: Abraham Lincoln in a one-room Kentucky log cabin; Charles Darwin on an English country estate. It was a time of backward-seeming notions, when almost everyone still accepted the biblical account of creation as the literal truth and authoritarianism as the most natural and viable social order. But by the time both men died, the world had changed: ordinary people understood that life on earth was a story of continuous evolution, and the Civil War had proved that a democracy could fight for principles and endure. And with these signal insights much else had changed besides. Together, Darwin and Lincoln had become midwives to the spirit of a new world, a new kind of hope and faith.

Searching for the men behind the icons of emancipation and evolution, Adam Gopnik shows us, in this captivating double life, Lincoln and Darwin as they really were: family men and social climbers; ambitious manipulators and courageous adventurers; the living husband, father, son, and student behind each myth....

(Publisher's Product description)

It gives one pause to think what the world is like because of the lives of these two men.


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