Darwin's Origin of Species: A Biography

by Janet Browne
New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006. 320 pages.

The author of Charles Darwin: Voyaging and Charles Darwin: The Power of Place here turns her attention to the Origin, providing a brief but scintillating account of its composition and reception. "[T]he Origin of Species was clearly a major publishing event that spectacularly altered the nature of discussion on the question of origins," Browne writes in her concluding chapter. "This interplay between one man, one book, and the diverse social, religious, intellectual and national circumstances of his audiences and the broader currents of historical change is what made Darwin's Origin such a remarkable phenomenon in its own day and which continues to absorb and instruct modern readers."