This large heavyweight book is a first edition of the one volume set previously published in 31 fortnightly parts then later in a 3 volume set. It gives "a popular account of all major aspects of biology as known in the 1920s. It has been called "the first modern textbook of biology" and "the best popular introduction to the biological sciences". In undertaking The Science of Life, H. G. Wells, who had published The Outline of History a decade earlier, selling over two million copies, desired the same sort of treatment for biology. He thought of his readership as "the intelligent lower middle classes ... not idiots, half-wits ... greenhorns, religious fanatics ... smart women or men who know all that there is to be known".Julian Huxley, the grandson of T. H. Huxley under whom Wells had studied biology, and his son "Gip", a zoologist, divided the initial writing between them; H. G. Wells revised, dealt (with the help of his literary agent, A. P. Watt) with publishers, and acted as a strict taskmaster, often obliging his collaborators to sit down and work together and keeping them on a tight schedule. (H. G. Wells had begun the book during his wife's final illness and is said to have used work on the book as a way to keep his mind off his loss.)" The edition compiles all nine books of the series and comes complete with an extensive Table of Contents and numerous black and white illustrations including drawings and photographs.
This copy comes in a dust jacket, which apart from a hole cut out on the spine of the jacket where the price once was, is in good condition as it is protected by a removable transparent cover. There is a gilt title on the spine of the blue cloth boards, which are clean and unmarked with just very light wear to spine and corners.
Inside, there is light foxing to the endpapers, and a prior ownership signature and small bookseller stamp. The boards are thick with reinforced hinges. The pages are tanned commensurate with age and the top edges are discoloured.