All this comes coated for easy digestion: Goldschmidt is a storyteller as well as a scientist, and anecdotes from his personal experiences in Tanzania are used to frame — and explain — the biology. An attack of malaria leads, naturally enough, to an explanation of sickle-cell heterozygosity — and a debate with a doctor about natural selection. An account of a local wedding leads into a description of the marriage customs of the Sukuma, and thence into a discussion of sexual selection. A visit to a missionary lepidopterist and the inspection of his butterfly collection lead into an explanation of Batesian and Müllerian mimicry. And the local economics of the study area are connected to an explanation of furu ecological niches.
Darwin's Dreampond is never dull or dry. It provides an entertaining account of the evolutionary and ecological marvels of the Lake Victoria cichlids, along with extensive references to the scientific literature for those who want more detail. It is also an excellent introduction to the basic concepts of evolutionary biology, and one especially suitable for those more accustomed to travel writing.