The Wonderful Century, originally published in 1898, is a unique book, offering a retrospective of the grand scope of the 19th century.
In it, British biologist and explorer ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE (1823-1913) discusses what he considers the successes of the last hundred years, including advances made in modes of travel, mechanization, photography, the analysis of light, physics, the study of dust, chemistry, astronomy, glaciers, geology, evolution, and medicine. He also covers those areas of study that have not been advanced as much as he believes they should have been.
Among the curious topics in the "Failure" section of the book are phrenology, hypnotism, and the fallacy of vaccination. It will be amusing to modern readers that many of the areas that Wallace thought needed to be elucidated better in the future have since been proven false.
History buffs as well as readers wishing to be entertained by the skewed views of the past will find this book a joyous and engaging read.