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A Brief History of Creation

Science and the Search for the Origin of Life

January 2017

Bill Mesler (Author), H. James Cleaves II (Author)


The epic story of the scientists through the ages who have sought answers to life’s biggest mystery: How did it begin?

In this essential and illuminating history of Western science, Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves II seek to answer the most crucial question in science: How did life begin? They trace the trials and triumphs of the iconoclastic scientists who have sought to solve the mystery, from Darwin’s theory of evolution to Crick and Watson’s unveiling of DNA. This fascinating exploration not only examines the origin-of-life question, but also interrogates the very nature of scientific discovery and objectivity.


"A fascinating, fast-paced tour through the ages of how some of the greatest minds and characters in history have pondered one of the greatest questions in science…[A] rich, masterfully woven tale of our still-evolving ideas about life and how it came to be." — Sean B. Carroll, author of Brave Genius and Remarkable Creatures

"Far more accurate and up-to-date than any previous work targeted to the general public." — James Strick, Science

"A wonderful new history of debates about the origin of life." — Adam Frank, NPR

"Thoroughly engaging…An absorbing account…A Brief History of Creation reveals as much about the process of science as it does about the puzzle of the origin of life. That’s no mean achievement." — John Farrell, Wall Street Journal

"A well-written and lively account of the science and history behind one of the most fascinating questions in science—how animate matter emerged from inanimate matter—enriched by engaging portraits of the scientists involved and a feel for the very human scientific enterprise at work." — Alan Lightman, Professor of the Practice of the Humanities, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of Einstein’s Dreams

"A joyous and infinitely readable history of our ongoing quest to know how we came to be. Mesler and Cleaves elegantly narrate the evolution of philosophical and scientific inquiry, infusing the subject with all the dramatic intrigue it deserves and bringing historical figures to life as vividly as characters in a novel. A thrilling read." — Nina Siegal, author of The Anatomy Lesson

"With fully accessible and engaging prose, artfully weaving history, philosophy, and science, Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves II tell what is perhaps the greatest of all scientific stories, the quest to understand the origin of life." — Marcelo Gleiser, Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy, Dartmouth College, and author of The Island of Knowledge

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142 x 208 mm • 336 pages


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