First published in 1859, this landmark book on evolutionary biology was not the first to deal with the subject, but it went on to become a sensation—and a controversial one for many religious people who could not reconcile Darwin’s science with their faith. Darwin worked on the book for over 20 years before its publication. The radical crux of his scientific theory was the idea of natural selection, which meant that chance, not a divine Creator, played a great role in humanity's advancement and that individuals who weren't physically able to adapt with the greater populace died off.
Although in some respects more technical in their subjects and style than Darwin's "Journal," the books here reprinted will never lose their value and interest for the originality of the observations they contain. Many parts of them are admirably adapted for giving an insight into problems regarding the structure and changes of the earth's surface, and in fact they form a charming introduction to physical geology and physiography in their application to special domains. The books themselves cannot be obtained for many times the price of the present volume, and both the general reader, who desires to know more of Darwin's work, and the student of geology, who naturally wishes to know how a master mind reasoned on most important geological subjects, will be glad of the opportunity of possessing them in a convenient and cheap form. The three introductions, which my friend Professor Judd has kindly furnished, give critical and historical information which makes this edition of special value.