At once a major resource for historians of science and an
excellent introduction to natural history for the general reader,
David Allen's "The Naturalist in Britain" established a precedent
for investigating natural history as a social phenomenon. Here the
author traces the evolution of natural history from the seventeenth
to the early twentieth centuries, from the "herbalizings" of
apprentice apothecaries to the establishment of national reserves
and international societies to the emergence of natural history as
an organized discipline. Along the way he describes the role of
scientific ideas, popular fashion, religious motivations, literary
influences, the increase of leisure time and disposable income, and
the tendency of like-minded persons to form clubs. His
comprehensive and entertaining discussion creates a vibrant
portrait of a scientific movement inextricably woven into a
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