Stephen Jay Gould

An Urchin in the Storm

by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1987. 255 pages.

An Urchin in the Storm is Gould's only collection of book reviews, most of which appeared originally in The New York Review of Books. "Each of these chapters uses an individual book to pursue a general theme", Gould explains in the preface, "but organizes its discussion as a critique of content." The topics of the books under review include evolutionary theory, time and geology, biological determinism, individual biologists (Barbara McClintock, Ernest Everett Just, G Evelyn Hutchinson, and Lewis Thomas), and science and pseudoscience (including a memorable demolition of Jeremy Rifkin's Algeny). The reviewer for The New York Times Book Review describes it as "[a] perfect volume for fans of Stephen Jay Gould."

Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History

by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1992. 540 pages.

NCSE Supporter Stephen Jay Gould's role in developing the model of punctuated equilibria and his monthly column in Natural History have made him a popular writer who needs no introduction. Bully for Brontosaurus contains no fewer than 35 of his compulsively readable essays, including 3 — "William Jenning Bryan's Last Campaign", "An Essay on a Pig Roast", and "Justice Scalia's Misunderstanding" — devoted to the evolution/creation controversy in the US.

Dinosaur in a Haystack

by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: Harmony Books, 1995. 480 pages.

In this collection of essays from Gould's "This View of Life" column in Natural History, "Gould always circles back to the great themes of time, change, and history, always carrying his reader home to the centering theme of evolution — the most exciting natural truth that science has ever discovered."

Full House

by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: Three Rivers Press, 1997. 256 pages.

Full House is Gould's first single-subject book since Wonderful Life. In this book Gould demonstrates that, contrary to popular opinion, variety, not increasing complexity, is characteristic of the evolution of life on earth. Full House teaches us how to read trends as changes in variation within full systems rather than as "things moving somewhere."

Ontogeny and Phylogeny

by Stephen Jay Gould
Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1985. 520 pages.

Gould's first book, published in 1977, explored the idea of recapitulation from its first appearances among the pre-Socratics to its fall in the early twentieth century, when (as Gould argues) it collapsed not from the weight of contrary data but because of the rise of Mendelian genetics, which rendered it untenable. Although recapitulation failed, Gould argues, the relationship between ontogeny and phylogeny still deserves consideration: "Despite its baroque excrescences and digressions, this book is primarily a long argument for the evolutionary importance of heterochrony — changes in the relative time of appearance and rate of development of characters already present in ancestors."

Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life

by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: Ballantine Books, 2002. 256 pages.

Gould's contribution to the ongoing discussion of the relations of science and religion — which introduced the term NOMA, for "non-overlapping magisteria" — appeared in 1999 in the Library of Contemporary Thought. "I join nearly all people of goodwill in wishing to see two old and cherished institutions, our two rocks of ages — science and religion — coexisting in peace while each works to make a distinctive patch for the integrative coat of many colors that will celebrate the distinctions of our lives, yet cloak human nakedness in a seamless covering called wisdom", writes Gould in the final section of Rocks of Ages.

The Book of Life: An Illustrated History of the Evolution of Life on Earth, second edition

edited by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2001. 256 pages.

The Book of Life, now in its second edition, provides nothing less than it promises in its title: a detailed account of the history of life on earth over the last four billion years. J John Seposki Jr, Michael Benton, Christine Janis, Christopher Stringer, and Peter Andrews, under the general editorship of NCSE Supporter Stephen Jay Gould, are responsible for the thoroughly understandable text; the vivid and compelling illustrations are the work of John Barber, Marianne Collins, Ely Kish, Akio Marishima, and Jean-Paul Tibbles. Palaeontologia Electronica's reviewer wrote, "There is much of interest here for the professional, and a wealth to be discovered for the interested general reader."

The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox: Ending the False War Between Science and the Humanities

by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: Random House, 2003. 288 pages.

Here Gould argues that science and the humanities are separate but equal players in the joint enterprise of wisdom.

The Mismeasure of Man

by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996. 432 pages.

As the publisher remarks, "When published in 1981, The Mismeasure of Man was immediately hailed as a masterwork, the ringing answer to those who would classify people, rank them according to their supposed genetic gifts and limits." In the 1996 edition, Gould added a substantial new introduction explaining why he wrote the book and tracing the subsequent history of the controversy up to the publication of Richard J Herrnstein and Charles Murray's The Bell Curve. In addition, he expanded the book by adding five essays on questions of The Bell Curve in particular and on race, racism, and biological determinism in general.

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory

by Stephen Jay Gould
Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2002. 1464 pages.

The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, Gould's massive, digressive, and provocative magnum opus, is, as Mark Ridley wrote in The New York Times, "a magnificent summary of a quarter-century of influential thinking and a major publishing event in evolutionary biology." In it, Gould attempts to trace the history of evolutionary thought and chart a path for its future. "Nothing of Darwin's central logic has faded or fully capsized", he writes, "but his theory has been transformed, along his original lines, into something far different, far richer, and far more adequate to guide our understanding of nature."

Time's Arrow/Time's Cycle

by Stephen Jay Gould
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987. 240 pages.

In Time's Arrow/Time's Cycle, Stephen Jay Gould reconsiders the discovery of deep time by focusing on "the three cardinal actors on the British geological stage — the primary villain and the two standard heroes", that is, Thomas Burnet, James Hutton, and Charles Lyell. Challenging textbook orthodoxies and Whiggish triumphalism in the history of geology, Time's Arrow/Time's Cycle was praised by the reviewer for the Times Higher Education Supplement as carrying "an enthusiasm, intelligence and sense of purpose that render it a worthy follower to Gould's earlier work." Gould was a supporter of NCSE until his death in 2002.

Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville: A Lifelong Passion for Baseball

by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2003. 320 pages.

Collected here are Gould’s writings about America's favorite pastime, including two essays written especially for the book.

Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

by Stephen Jay Gould
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1990. 352 pages.

In Wonderful Life, Gould tells the story of the reinterpretation of the unusual fossils of the Burgess Shale: "a grand and wonderful story of the highest intellectual merit — with no one killed, no one even injured or scratched, but a new world revealed." Reviewing Wonderful Life for Nature, Richard A. Fortey wrote, "There is no question about the historical importance of the Burgess Shale, and Gould is right when he says that it deserves a place in the public consciousness along with big bangs and black holes .... A compelling story, told with characteristic verve."