The Origin

by Irving Stone
New York: Doubleday, 1980. 743 pages.

Known for his popular biographical novels of the famous, including Vincent van Gogh (Lust for Life), Michelangelo (The Agony and the Ecstasy), and Clarence Darrow (For the Defense), Irving Stone spent five years working on The Origin, living in or near Darwin's abodes in Shropshire, Shrewsbury, and London, and even traveling to the Galápagos. His efforts were rewarded with a place on the bestseller list and a review in The New York Times describing The Origin as "a work of vast research, much pleasure and modest insights. It lacks literary elegance and psychological subtlety. But it is overwhelming in detail and overpowering as narrative."