Origin Story

The Trials of Charles Darwin

19 July 2024

Territory Rights — Worldwide.

Howard Markel (Author)


A lively account of how Darwin’s work on natural selection transformed science and society and an investigation into the mysterious illness that plagued its author

By early morning 30 June 1860, a large crowd began to congregate in front of Oxford University’s brand-new Museum of Natural History. The occasion was the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science and the subject of discussion was Charles Darwin’s new treatise: fact or fiction? Darwin had introduced a cogent explanation of the origin of species—how they adapted, even transmogrified, through natural selection. At stake was the very foundation of modern biology, not to mention the future of the church.

In Origin Story, medical historian Howard Markel recounts the two-year period (1858–1860) of Darwin’s writing of On the Origin of Species through its spectacular success and controversy. Simultaneously, Markel delves into the mysterious health symptoms Darwin developed, presenting the first accurate diagnosis of a case that has long fascinated medical historians. The result is a colourful portrait of the man, his friends and enemies and his seminal work, which resonates to this day.

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160 x 239 mm • 368 pages


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