First edition. A typical diverse and broad-ranging collection of fifteen essays by the zoologist, philosopher, and pre-eminent popularizer of science Huxley (1887-1975), whose wife Juliette once mused, ‘So many fingers in so many pies [...]. What a pity you haven't got a few more fingers!’ (ONDB). The essays collected here comprise: ‘On Living in a Revolution’; ‘Economic Man and Social Man’; ‘The War: Two Jobs, Not One’; ‘Philosophy in a World at War’; ‘War as a Biological Phenomenon’; ‘Darwinism To-day’; ‘Thomas Henry Huxley and Julian Huxley: An Imaginary Interview’; ‘Dr. Spooner: The Growth of a Legend’; ‘Birds And Men on St. Kilda’; ‘Animal Pests In War-time’; ‘Tennessee Revisited: The Technique of Democratic Planning’; ‘Colonies in a Changing World’; ‘Reconstruction and Peace’; ‘“Race” in Europe’; and ‘Education as a Social Function’. These essays were first published between 1939 and 1943 in journals in the UK and overseas, apart from ‘“Race” in Europe’, which was first published in the volume We Europeans (1939), and ‘Reconstruction and Peace’, which was first published as a pseudonymous pamphlet.
The author’s preface notes that, ‘[w]ith two exceptions, all the essays in this volume were written during the course of this war’ (p. vii), and Huxley suggests that, ‘[n]ever, I suppose, has the process of re-thinking been so intense as in these past four years. There has been the re-thinking of old problems, the transvaluation of values; and there has been the re-direction of thought to new fields, the compulsory cross-fertilization of ideas. As a result, we now live in a quite different world. There has been a revolution of thought, both reinforcing and reinforced by the revolution of economic and social fact’ (loc. cit.). He concludes with the words, ‘[t]o live in a revolution is a dubious privilege, and to live in this particular revolution is in some respects particularly unpleasant. But it has one compensation. This revolution is the first in which scientific knowledge and conscious planning is able to play a part. History is being made at greater speed than ever before, and if we are willing to make the effort, we who live in this revolution have the privilege of helping history’ (p. xii).
On Living in a Revolution was produced using poor-quality, war-time paper stock, and the text is usually browned and the dustwrapper either missing or badly worn; this copy is unusually bright and the dustwrapper has suffered very little damage.