THERE was only one way in which I could approach the writing of a book on a subject so deep, so moving, and so all- encompassing as the evolution of man. That was as a reporter. The function of a reporter is to tell about, and in one sense to interpret, the work of the expert for the layman. In this case that was an unequaled assignment.
These were men reaching out for the widest understandings of which we are capable. They have tried to understand and explain the majestic course of life. They have experimented to that end. They have dug into the earth in a search for our earliest forebears, and they have brought the clear light of mathematics to bear upon this infinite and yet nearest problem. To work with material of this magnificent scope was both exciting and humbling. As the late learned Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, Field Marshal Jan C. Smuts, said: "The story of the evolution of life on this globe is perhaps the most enthralling in all science."
To tell this story I have drawn on the work of many scientists. I have extensively used their own writings and what others have written about them. For the story of the recent developments that have brought a new surge of progress in the study of evolution and have changed many past concepts, I have tried, whenever possible, to talk to the men who were doing the work.
I should like to express my appreciation particularly to Dr. Sherwood L. Washburn, of the University of Chicago. Without his assistance and guidance the writing of this book would have been an almost impossible task. It was heartening too to discover that he did not quail at the idea of the story of evolution being written by a reporter for people generally. I