Darwin's Man in Brazil:
The Evolving Science of Fritz Müller

David A. West

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"The thoroughly researched, well-illustrated, and definitive account of an important period, place, and scientist in the history of evolutionary biology."--Edward O. Wilson, author of The Meaning of Human Existence

"Absolutely essential to anyone interested in the history of evolutionary theory, evolutionary science, or Darwinism. This volume will become the standard biography of Müller and will take its place on the short shelf of classic works in the history of modern biology."--Thomas F. Glick, coeditor of The Literary and Cultural Reception of Charles Darwin in Europe

"This volume helps us gain a better understanding not only of Müller's many contributions but also of the development of Darwin's ideas about species diversity."--Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis, author of Unifying Biology

"A clear and detailed picture of a devoted naturalist and impressive man who accomplished a remarkable amount of work and whose impact on the development of natural science in the late nineteenth century has long been overlooked, until now."--Julia Rodriguez, author of Civilizing Argentina:Science, Medicine, and the Modern State


Fritz Müller (1821-1897), though not as well known as his colleague Charles Darwin, belongs in the cohort of great nineteenth-century naturalists. Recovering Müller's legacy, David A. West describes the close intellectual kinship between Müller and Darwin and details a lively correspondence that spanned seventeen years. The two scientists, despite living on separate continents, often discussed new research topics and exchanged groundbreaking ideas that unequivocally moved the field of evolutionary biology forward.

Müller was unique among naturalists testing Darwin's theory of natural selection because he investigated an enormous diversity of plants and animals, corresponded with prominent scientists, and published important articles in Germany, England, the United States, and Brazil. Darwin frequently praised Müller's powers of observation and interpretation, counting him among those scientists whose opinions he valued most.

Despite the importance and scope of his work, however, Müller is known for relatively few of his discoveries. West remedies this oversight, chronicling the life and work of this remarkable and overlooked man of science.

David A. West (1933-2015) was associate professor emeritus of biological sciences at Virginia Tech and the author of Fritz Müller: A Naturalist in Brazil.
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Presents 15 years of meticulous work compiling more years of West’s fascination with and study of the German biologist who spent most of his professional life in southern Brazil, and who is considered a major contributor to Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.-- Roanoke Times

Despite the importance and scope of his work...Müller is known for relatively few of his discoveries. West remedies this oversight, chronicling the life and work of this extraordinary and overlooked man of science-- Virginia Tech News

A thorough examination of a human figure and a scientist’s achievements. H-Net

This fine biography of Fritz Müller (1821-97) explains how he helped Darwin shape his ideas on mimicry. . . . ideal for students of natural history, historians of science, and other scholars. Choice

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