"Rob Wesson’s Darwin’s First Theory dares, thank goodness, to work some of the rare Darwinian territory that is actually unexplored."
– The New York Times Book Review
"A wonderful evocation of Darwin's great theory of subsidence and uplift, the substrate of his later, explosive discovery of evolution."
"An eye-opening account of a less well-known side of Darwin. Wesson hits the jackpot when he concentrates on his subject and reveals that 20 years before Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species, his genius was already in evidence. A welcome addition to Darwin studies."
– Kirkus Reviews
"In witty prose, Rob Wesson has captured a side of Darwin that is o en omitted in popular writings—that of a geologist. Appropriate quotes from Darwin and Robert Fitzroy, a polymath himself, enhance the eloquence of all three authors. Darwin’s First Theory reveals the power and the glory of curiosity. "
– Peter Molnar, Geologist, University of Colorado
"An impressive addition to the huge body of literature on Darwin and his work. Wesson has a broad understanding and a deep familiarity with primary and secondary sources on Darwin and his contemporaries—and he has a master storyteller’s talent for engaging and illuminating narrative."
– Natural History Magazine
"Readers interested in Darwin, the earth sciences, and field-based research will find this well worth their time."
– Publishers Weekly (starred)
"Distinguished seismologist Rob Wesson left his desk and followed Darwin’s footsteps. He traces Darwin’s pioneering development of geological theories of a dynamic earth and illuminates the growth in science leading to our modern understanding of plate tectonics."
– George Thompson, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University
"A lively, readable account of field experiences while chasing the records in southern Chile of several of Earth's most severe earthquakes. A very welcome addition to the history of the geosciences."
– Robert H. Dott, Jr., Geologist and Historian of Geology, University of Wisconsin
"An illuminating retelling of a neglected episode in epoch-making science."
"An absorbing read about the man who might have been remembered as the father of geophysics if he hadn’t come up with an even more spectacular idea. Darwin wasn’t always right, but by discussing his errors as well as his triumphs, this warts-and-all account highlights the way real science works, with lessons as relevant today as they were two hundred years ago."
– John Gribbin, author of "Fitzroy" and "Einstein's Masterwork"
"Rob Wesson has done a magnificent job of blending current science, a thorough historical understanding, and his own geological experience into a captivating account of Charles Darwin's first theory: the one about how the Earth evolved. Wesson has retraced Darwin's footsteps to better understand the giant earthquakes which then, as now, can massively devastate the places they occur. I'd certainly encourage anyone interested in the Earth to join Wesson and Darwin on their travels."
– Duncan Agnew, Professor of Geophysics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
"An exciting scientific travelogue. Indispensable reading for rock hounds and fans of natural history."
– Shelf Awareness
"A lively, readable account of Darwin’s geological career. The author’s study of primary sources enables the narrative of Darwin’s voyages to shine."
– The Quarterly Review of Biology