Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Francis Galton in Print   posted by DavidB @ 6/21/2006 04:40:00 AM

Darth Quixote recently pointed out (below, June 15) that Francis Galton's celebrated book Hereditary Genius has recently been reprinted in a cheap paperback edition. This welcome news prompted me to check, on and, what other books by Galton are currently in print. I was pleased to find that most of them are, though some are very expensive.

The following are all available from Some but not all are also available from Amazon (US).

Apart from Hereditary Genius, Galton's fascinating book The Art of Travel is in print in several editions. The book gives practical advice to travellers and explorers in 'wild countries', on matters such as selecting a camp site, finding water, and disciplining native servants. One to be enjoyed from the armchair!

Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development, which contains most of Galton's researches in psychology, is available as a print-on-demand paperback, either separately or combined with Hereditary Genius. It might be expected that print-on-demand would be a lengthy and expensive process, but I have used it for a few other books, and it is not bad at all. Human Faculty is also quite easy to find second-hand, as it was published for many years in the Everyman's Library series.

Natural Inheritance, Galton's most substantial theoretical work on heredity and statistics, is in print but only as an expensive hardback. Likewise, English Men of Science, their Nature and Nurture, is in print but expensive.

Essays on Eugenics, a late book containing most of Galton's specific writings on eugenics, is available in paperback.

But my biggest and nicest surprise was to find that Galton's 1892 book Finger Prints has recently been published as a Dover paperback, the first book by Galton to appear in this major imprint. This classic work is the foundation of the forensic use of fingerprints, but also has interesting remarks on heredity, evolution, and other matters. Go and buy it, if only to reward Dover for reprinting it!

These leaves only a few of Galton's books not available in print at all: notably his early book of exploration in South Africa, and his delightful late autobiography Memories of my Life.

But don't forget that all of these, and hundreds of articles, pamphlets, and other short works, are available as on-line downloads, from Gavan Tredoux's remarkable website here. There is also a permanent link under the section 'Other Sites of Interest' on the sidebar at the right.