The Reluctant Mr. Darwin

From The Christian Science Monitor:

Darwin_7 Books about Darwin are on the rise as his 200th birthday looms in 2008. What award-winning science journalist Quammen sets out to explain in this biography of Darwin’s life after his voyage on the Beagle in 1836 is twofold: What did Darwin really discover? And why did he take so long to tell anyone about it? (Darwin waited more than two decades to publish Origins after his return from the South Pacific and Galápagos Islands.) In the end, Quammen doesn’t answer the second question, perhaps not wanting to put the English naturalist on the psychiatrist’s couch or lose the brevity that helps make his book so readable.

Was Darwin afraid his ideas would shock Victorian society? Incur the wrath of the political or religious establishment? Hurt the feelings of his beloved wife, a devout Christian? Was he just too busy caring for his big family? Or did he have too many other interests? Or it could be that he delayed simply for good scientific reasons, being a careful self-taught scientist who wanted to refine his arguments, run more experiments, and double-check his assumptions?

More here.