In a very generous online experiment, science writer and blogger at Wired Science David Dobbs, is putting up his entire book Reef Madness in small chunks on his blog Neuron Culture.
Here at Neuron Culture I’m going to serially publish significant chunks of my book Reef Madness: Charles Darwin, Alexander Agassiz, and the Meaning of Coral. I’m doing so because I love this book, I deeply believe it’s good, and almost no one knows it exists. When it was ostensibly published in 2005 — when I was a nobody too politely waiting my turn, stoopid enough to think if I just spent three years working hard to write a really good book, good things would happen — it was published and distributed and publicized so poorly that this event amounted to “publication” only in name; its publication amounted to little more than an act of paper consumption and archiving. (Though I like the cover.) So I’m publishing big chunks of it here, serially, in the hope that readers will see that Oliver Sacks is right, and that Reef Madness is, as I like to say, the best book about Darwin that you’ve ever heard of.
Will this work? Don’t know. But work or no, at least I’ll know I didn’t just sit around waiting.
Reef Madness is a superb book that transcends more than just a point in science history. I read this book over 4 years ago at the peak my marine biology research career and highly enjoyed it. I read Reef Madness after reading Desmond and Moore’s excellent biography of Darwin and had starting giving public lectures on Charles Darwin and other science figures from 1700s to early 1900s. David Dobbs book helped me lace Darwin’s ideas in greater context of the sense of place during his time and has contributed to shaping how I write about the history of science.
I hope you will tune into Dobbs blog for postings on Reef Madness. The first two sections are already posted:
Section 1: Louis Agassiz, Creationist Magpie
I hope you recognize that it is not often (or at all) that an author with a book already published, posts is work freely on the internet for all to read. this says a great deal about how Dobbs really feels about his book. I think after reading these first two sections you will be hooked! If so, please support him by purchasing a copy of the book for yourself, leaving a review on Reef Madness Amazon page, and commenting on the Reef Madness posts. This is a rare opportunity to really read a book and interact with its author in real time!