There's a very nice intro and using Darwin's acknowledgments from the second edition of 'Origin' was a nice outro, but most of the in-between bits were uneven, sometimes straying from what I understood to be the purpose of the book.Each of these chapters were to reveal the contributions of the 'transmutationists' who preceded Darwin, often suffering the wrath of The Church in the process. Several of these chapters focus much more on biographical sketch than on scientific thought, however. And so few were truly predecessors of Darwin's theory of natural selection that these scientists seem to have laid more of a cultural groundwork than a philosophical one. Not that this is insignificant, but it isn't what I thought I'd be reading.Stott's is not a bad book and the last third is very interesting, even. Recommended for history buffs, not those seeking greater scientific knowledge.