On February 12th, 1809, two men were born an ocean apart: Charles Darwin on an English country estate; Abraham Lincoln in a Kentucky log cabin. Their great parallel lives were to transform humanity's understanding of itself.Adam Gopnik takes the coincidence of their birth as the starting-point to explore these historical giants, showing how they informed their lives and actions based on argument from reason, in the process using language that was as revolutionary as their ideas. And, in the loss of their favoured child, they shared a private tragedy for which their philosophical views on death would prove little comfort.

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