German post-Darwinian biology reassessed

Modern Intellectual History 8 (1):227-236 (2011)
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Abstract

It is hard to imagine two more engaging and thoroughly researched works on German science than the two here under review. This is especially rewarding because in the period covered???the second half of the nineteenth century and the early years of the twentieth???it is often the physical sciences that command the attention of historians. This was the time when Helmholtz was at the peak of his profession and Einstein was emerging onto the scene. Richards and Nyhart are among those historians of science who are reexamining assumptions about the sciences of life in Germany from the beginning of the nineteenth century on. In particular, as scholars of Germany they refuse to concede to any other country or individual the undisputed center of attention where biological science and even the subject of evolution are concerned. Both works are much more than straightforward narrative histories. Nyhart and Richards have each taken on difficult historiographical challenges in the course of presenting the results of their research

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