The New York Times - Notable Books of 2012

more

The Social Conquest of Earth (2012)

Written by Edward O. Wilson

From the most celebrated heir to Darwin comes a groundbreaking book on evolution, the summa work of Edward O. Wilson's legendary career.

Where did we come from? What are we? Where are we going? In a generational work of clarity and passion, one of our greatest living scientists directly addresses these three fundamental questions of religion, philosophy, and science while “overturning the famous theory that evolution naturally encourages creatures to put family first” (Discover magazine). Refashioning the story of human evolution in a work that is certain to generate headlines, Wilson draws on his remarkable knowledge of biology and social behavior to show that group selection, not kin selection, is the primary driving force of human evolution. He proves that history makes no sense without prehistory, and prehistory makes no sense without biology.

Demonstrating that the sources of morality, religion, and the creative arts are fundamentally biological in nature, Wilson presents us with the clearest explanation ever produced as to the origin of the human condition and why it resulted in our domination of the Earth’s biosphere. (Copyright © Liveright/W. W. Norton & Company. All rights reserved.)

Source:  W. W. Norton & Company.

Edward O. Wilson is is an American biologist, researcher (sociobiology, biodiversity), theorist (consilience, biophilia), naturalist (conservationist) and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants, on which he is considered to be the world's leading authority.

Wilson is known for his scientific career, his role as "the father of sociobiology", his environmental advocacy, and his secular-humanist and deist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters.

Wilson was the Joseph Pellegrino University Research Professor in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.

He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and a New York Times bestseller for The Social Conquest of Earth (2012) and Letters to a Young Scientist (2013), a memoir in the form of 21 letters, in which he distills 60 years of teaching and a lifetime of experience. Some of his published works included The Diversity of Life (1992) and a memorable autobiography, Naturalist (1994). Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998) outlined his view of the essential unity of the natural and social sciences.

He and his wife Irene still make their home in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Close

Select Version you want to order