In the book, Chakrabarty explains evolution in a concise, accessible, and engaging way, emphasizing the importance of understanding evolution in contemporary life. He weaves his own lived experience among discussions of Darwin and the origins of evolutionary thought while also covering key concepts to our understanding of current conditions.
Regina S. Baucom, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, reviewed his book in Evolution, the International Journal of Organic Evolution, providing insight and reflection. According to Baucom, the book is a fun and wide-ranging overview of the science of evolution, covering many of the major themes of evolutionary biology in a concise and accessible way. Baucom highlights the book's personable and engaging style, noting that Chakrabarty uses metaphors and humor to connect with a broad audience and make the material more appealing. She particularly praises the chapter "From So Simple a Beginning," which is done in the style of a graphic novel and provides an overview of Darwin's life and the history of evolutionary thought. When asked about the experience of writing the book review, she said “I found it particularly fun to review a book from one of the museum’s previous graduate students who has gone on to build an illustrious career.”
Chakrabarty’s former advisor, William Fink, professor and curator emeritus at UM’s Museum of Zoology, said Chakrabarty always showed great promise as a graduate student. “Prosanta has gone on from his studies at UM to achieve a career that would be the envy of many,” said Fink. “At Michigan, he produced a fine dissertation, all the while working on a book of advice for graduate students and being active in the social and intellectual life of the department. He now is an accomplished field biologist, collection builder and research scientist and mentor.”
Added to these accomplishments is now a book on evolution that he has written for the general public. Overall, Baucom praises "Explaining Life through Evolution" as a fun and engaging read that provides an essential guide to the kind of scientific literacy that would lend well to K-12 education and early college biology courses. In the review, she praises Chakrabarty for engaging in public outreach, saying, “Given that trust in science has taken a sharp blow in recent years, especially in the United States, engaging with the public feels exceedingly important. I can think of no one better to lead a broad audience through the many components of evolutionary biology than a practicing evolutionary biologist who has thought deeply about connecting with a wide audience and who can do so with a unique balance of kindness, earnestness, and wit.”