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A Life of Sir Francis Galton: From African Exploration to the Birth of Eugenics [Anglais] [Relié]

Nicholas Wright Gillham

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Description de l'ouvrage

3 janvier 2002
Few scientists have made lasting contributions to as many fields as Francis Galton. He was an important African explorer, travel writer, and geographer. He was the meteorologist who discovered the anticyclone, a pioneer in using fingerprints to identify individuals, the inventor of regression and correlation analysis in statistics, and the founder of the eugenics movement. Now, Nicholas Gillham paints an engaging portrait of this Victorian polymath. The book traces Galton's ancestry (he was the grandson of Erasmus Darwin and the cousin of Charles Darwin), upbringing, training as a medical apprentice, and experience as a Cambridge undergraduate. It recounts in colorful detail Galton's adventures as leader of his own expedition in Namibia. Darwin was always a strong influence on his cousin and a turning point in Galton's life was the publication of the Origin of Species. Thereafter, Galton devoted most of his life to human heredity, using then novel methods such as pedigree analysis and twin studies to argue that talent and character were inherited and that humans could be selectively bred to enhance these qualities. To this end, he founded the eugenics movement which rapidly gained momentum early in the last century. After Galton's death, however, eugenics took a more sinister path, as in the United States, where by 1913 sixteen states had involuntary sterilization laws, and in Germany, where the goal of racial purity was pushed to its horrific limit in the "final solution." Galton himself, Gillham writes, would have been appalled by the extremes to which eugenics was carried. Here then is a vibrant biography of a remarkable scientist as well as a superb portrait of science in the Victorian era.

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A splendidly readable and informative guide to Galton's life, works and impact ... the accounts of Galton's investigations of heredity and their reception make the book so useful and so absorbing ... succeeds remarkably well at communicating the shape and content of Galton's work on the physiology and populational dynamics of inheritance ... it will be the biography for a long time to come. (Heredity)

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The January 11, 1999, issue of Time magazine ran a series of articles entitled "The Future of Medicine," which was devoted to the effects of the genetic revolution on mankind. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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Amazon.com: 3.2 étoiles sur 5  4 commentaires
6 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Dense with detail - for committed Galton students only 10 juin 2006
Par A Pawtuxet Reader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This biography of Sir Francis Galton is clearly well-researched. The difficulty, however, is that while the author writes individual paragraphs in an interesting, descriptive style, the paragraphs themselves come one after another in confusing sequence, with so much detail that it is difficult to follow or focus on the main thread.

A much more readable Galton biography is the one published in 2004 by Martin Brookes, which obviously used the same primary sources and contains much of the same information (in some instances, almost word-for-word.) The Gillham book has the advantage of having visual representations of Galton's graphs, tables, etc., and contains a deeper level of scientific detail. If you are more interested in the life of the man, what made him tick, and his place in history, go with the Brookes version.

Note: Gillham's version has an extensive index; Brookes' version has none.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 The Title Sums it Up 26 juillet 2007
Par J. head - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
A word to the wise, heed the title and sub-title of this book. It is not a very good all around biography of Sir Francis Galton. The book does bring you up to his first accomplishment, African exploration, very directly. Other chapters occasionally touch on some of his life-milestones like marriage and his relationship with the Royal Geographical Society. The majority of the book discusses his theories and scientific achievements. The book delves deep when it arrives on Galton's ideas and experiments in the field of genetics and hereditary traits. The reader will wonder why the book takes such great pains to explain Galton's outdated Victorian genetic theory. A quick perusal of the author's bio shows that he is a professor of genetics.
Sir Francis Galton does not have much name recognition today, but his name pops up in various books about the history of African exploration, statistics and genetics. He was one of a hand-full of renaissance type geniuses that Britain produced during the Victorian Age. They had wide ranging interests and consequently wide ranging discoveries. Galton is also credited with discovering the uniqueness of fingerprints to each individual. He began the modern type of data collection through scientific surveys and he correlated the results statistically. His improvements in the field of statistics are still used today.
There are not too many biographical books about Sir Francis Galton
This book may be a little too much for the casual reader looking for some general information . The reader must be prepared to skim over the deeper sections.
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Was hoping for better 20 février 2009
Par R.L.D. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I found the earlier part of the book more interesting than the belabored latter part. The book needed a good editor. The number of grammatical mistakes and typos was far more than should be allowed in a scholarly book of this type.
6 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Less a biography than a history of a nova among stars 14 mars 2004
Par Joseph G. Wick - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
A comprehensive life of Sir Francis Galton busting with detail. Unfortunately more about what he did than about what he was or how he came to be. In the later parts he is hardly mentioned in page after page while the abstruse arguments of his disciples are rehashed ad nauseum. There is a "tinge" of calling Galton a racist and he's connected to Herrenstein's The Bell Curve -- which dates this book. In truth, Galton was an amazing and varied genius who created much of statistics and the idea of "intelligence." One can't help but notice the incredible group of connections between Galton and other Victorian intelligensiae such as JBS Haldane, J Clerk Maxwell, William Kingdon Clifford (whom some think is the model for H.G.Wells' "Time Traveler") and others. On balance, a qualified recommendation. Lots of notes and a remarkable subject. Yet, I would have liked more information on Galton's own mental processes. The story reinforces the idea that the Victorian age was really interesting and chock-o-block with interesting people.
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