This is a vivid reassessment of the life of Philip Henry Gosse, the renowned Victorian naturalist, author, illustrator and Christian fundamentalist, who as both friend and antagonist of Charles Darwin, was at the very heart of the Victorian conflict between science and religion. The author of 40 books, Philip Henry Gosse also perfected and popularized the aquarium and travelled widely before settling in Devon as a self-trained entomologist, botanist, lepidopterist, ornithologist and above all, marine biologist. In a reassessment of the extraordinary life of the man described by Stephen Jay Gould, the Harvard palaeontologist, as the "David Attenborough of his day", Ann Thwaite also addresses the key question of why he has been perceived as a cruel and tyrannical father - a notion generally attributed to "Father and Son", the classic memoir by his son Edmund. But Edmund himself was shocked and surprised by such reactions to his work. The father he remembered - the man deemed by the Royal Society to have done more than any before to popularize the study of natural history in England - was at odds with this portrait he seemed to have delivered to the public domain.