Alfred Russel Wallace

A Rediscovered LifeMichael Flannery

For years Alfred Russel Wallace was little more than an obscure adjunct to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Remembered only for prompting Darwin to write On the Origin of Species by sending Darwin his own letter proposing a theory of natural selection, Wallace was rightly dubbed by one biographer “the forgotten naturalist.” A decade of recent interest in Wallace has done much to bring him back from history’s crypt of forgotten figures, but there is still significant disagreement over his legacy. The provocative thesis of this new biography is that Wallace, in developing his unique brand of evolution, presaged the modern theory of intelligent design. This was Wallace’s ultimate heresy, a heresy that exposed the metaphysical underpinnings of the emerging Darwinian paradigm.

About the Author

Michael A. Flannery is Professor and Associate Director for Historical Collections at the Lister Hill Library of the Health Sciences, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and a Fellow of the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute. Prof. Flannery has published extensively in medical history and bioethics, winning the prestigious Edward Kremers Award for distinguished writing by an American from the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy.


Flannery’s riveting tale of rediscovery provides convincing new evidence that Alfred Russel Wallace — the acknowledged co-discoverer of evolutionary theory — supported an argument from design for all forms of life which, in many ways, anticipated modern intelligent design thinking. This fascinating work of intellectual history recasts a new, more complete and lasting image of the once all too elusive Wallace.

Philip K. Wilson, MA, Ph.D., Professor of Humanities and Science, Technology & Society, Penn State College of Medicine

Flannery’s superb book provides the reader with indispensable insight into the earliest squalls in the modern tempest over Darwin’s theory and intelligent design.

Michael Egnor, M.D., Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Neurological Surgery, Stony Brook University Medical Center

The most important new book I have read in years.

Cornelius Hunter, Ph.D., Author of Science’s Blind Spot