The Origin
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The Origin

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  990 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Darwin, the discoverer. He did not mean to rock the world. He meant only to know the truth. But before he was done, Charles Darwin would shake the faith of centuries...would be reviled as a fiend, denounced as a madman - and finally hailed as a genius. His life was a storm-swept voyage of discovery-from the moment when as a raw youth he set sail on a five-year journey arou...more
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Published August 1st 1981 by Plume (first published 1980)
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I can't remember how old I was when I first read this--- sixteen? seventeen? The paperback copy I had was a battered old used thing even then. And no one ever accused Stone of being a great writer. But "The Origin" is still a favourite. I knew a little about Darwin when I first read this, knew that he'd made the "Beagle" voyage. But "The Origin" gave me Darwin the young man, gave me those five years aboard HMS "Beagle", gave me the middle-aged naturalist moving one slow, painful step at a time t...more
Gob Kamolwan Sriposil
This is one of the most unforgettable books I have ever read. Ever.

Irving Stone wrote about the life of Charles Darwin, introducing the reader, to not just the scientist behind the evolutionary theory, but the genius of a man during a time of controversy and conflict.
Kenyon Harbison
A life story of Charles Darwin, another biographical novel by the fellow who essentially invented the genre. The book is marred by the fact that the only truly exciting thing Darwin ever did was the famous Beagle voyage. That took place over five or so years when he was very young, in his twenties. After a few intro chapters, almost half of THE ORIGIN is devoted to his Beagle voyage around the world, his stops, his collecting, etc., on that voyage. This is by far the best part of the this book....more
Mar 03, 2014 Jessajune added it
Shelves: biography
My Dad recommended this book to me - while it is told in novel format it is clear that the intention of Mr. Stone is to base as much in documented fact as possible. Sometimes this leads to a rather disjointed style, where succeeding paragraphs are more bits of data rather than connected narrative.

Side bonus for me; I had a chance to visit Mr. Darwin's grave while I was only a few chapters into the book - it gave it an extra gravity and reality for me.

EDIT a long time later: I misplaced the book...more
Gail Amendt
This is a very fascinating and well researched fictionalized biography of Charles Darwin, and gives us a very good look at the life of this complex and brilliant man. Darwin's name will forever immediately bring to mind his work on evolution, but his work in other fields of biology and in geology was extensive. I had no idea he had published so many books and papers on a wide range of topics. It was interesting to learn of his internal struggles as he realized what the reaction to his evolutiona...more
Would have given 4 stars in a heartbeat if not so tedious...
D.A. Cairns
A biographical novel which really showed me the man behind the theory. It references Darwin's own personal writings, and the work of his contemporaries. I feel like I know Charles Darwin very well after reading this extraordinarily detailed account of his life. Chock full of amzing quotes and fascinating insights into the inner workings of one of the great minds of the nineteenth century. Darwin's theories continue to underpin modern scientific exploration into the origin of life, and this remar...more
R.A. Marsh
Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Great books remain relevant for a reason – because they teach us something. They better us; broaden our understanding of the world and its many fascinating inhabitants. And for that reason they deserve to be re-introduced, from time to time, so they may find in this vast ocean of distractions, some few new fertile islets upon which to propagate. One such enduring saga is Irving Stone’s 1980 exploration of the lif...more
Once again, Irving Stone takes something I never thought would be all that fascinating, and turns it into a gripping story that cannot be put down. This time it's the history of Charles Darwin. I knew about Darwin, the Beagle, The Origin of Species, etc, etc, whatever, fine. But Stone makes you see Darwin, the man. Troubled by ill health all of his life, conflicted over what his findings on evolution might mean for people's spirituality, it's all here. I was surprised to find that Darwin, who I...more
I read this book hoping to get a better understanding of Darwin's evolutionary theory. With all the controversy over evolution versus creationism, science versus religion, I feel I cannot formulate an intelligent opinion on either side since I don't understand enough about evolution. What I learned after over 700 pages is that it is a complex scientific theory that I may never fully understand.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the book. The first half covered Darwin's five-year voyage around the world...more
This book was very enlightening for me. Darwin's theory is explained through his scientific ponderings. The idea of evolution, as I understand it now, isn't necessarily about the jump from species to species but more about an evolution within the species. Not monkey to man, but more like primitive monkey to evolved monkey. A monkey that survives it's surroundings.... a little deep maybe but the book reads like classic Irving Stone. He tells the story of Darwin's travels, what interested him, whe...more
Great book! Fascinating! Charles Darwin was a brilliant and dedicated scientist. the book provides insights into the close network of scientists working alongside Darwin in England and how prolific Darwin was and how hard he worked. Yet, he had close friends and corresponded daily with colleagues all over the world. I had always wondered just how a scientist produces a monumental work like Origin of Species. After reading this book I understand that it was years of dedicated work and collaborati...more
Elisa M
This was my fourth try with this book, and it feels like a real accomplishment to have finally finished it! It took me nine months of picking the book up and reading one or two pages before putting it down again. In my opinion, it's not particularly well-written (I've read other books by the author that have a much better flow)- read purely as fiction, I would only have given it two stars. But the book goes into so much depth- I had to add stars for the amount of research that went into it, and...more
Rae  Michaud
As a faithful Christian I've often wondered exactly what Charles Drwins theory was and how he came to hs conclusion. Todays science teaches his theory as fact. This book takes you through his journey around the world as he olected and cateloged specimans of every kind and untimately published in numerous books and papers his findings. The book took me a couple of months to finish but I was glad I did. I don'ty believe he got it all right but he made a great contribution to science.
This is a biographical novel about one of the most influential men of modern time -- Charles Darwin. This author is very good at this genre, and this work is no exception. I feel as if I know Darwin intimately -- in private life -- because this work draws extensively from Darwin's actual letters. Especially interesting is the revelation of the physical toll take n by the stress of work as revolutionary and radical as Darwin's. As usual, it makes me want to read an actual biography.
Ok, this is not for everyone by any stretch. It appealed to me because of the Darwin angle. It was really cool to get such insight into his life and personality, however, this was a laborious read. Irving Stone is a great writter but you really have to love the topic to stick with his 700 and some pages. If you have read E.O.Wilson's The diversity of Species or any of Darwins writtings then you will enjoy this, if not, it is not for you.
I became addicted to Irving Stone... although I don't remember the order I read his historical novels. Some did not come up on GoodReads like Benjamin Franflin, Mary Todd Lincoln,... This is the story of Charles Darwin - the Voyage of the HMS Beagle. Pull out your map of South America. You will learn so much about observation, notebooks, sending those specimens back to London,... Another Must-Read!
I tried this so called "fiction" to have an easier read on Darwin in this 200th year of his birth. at over 600 pages, it does that, but at a cost of skipping a lot of science. I find the tale hardly compelling and writing rather mundane. I am reading both Darwinds tale of the voyage of the Beagle and the Origin of Species at the same time - slower going but more informative. More on those later.
I had never studied Charles Darwin other than the standard high school perfunctory peek at evolution. I had no idea that the man himself had such a fascinating life. The voyage of the Beagle (a seafaring adventure of five years!) thrilled and amazed me. This fictionalized account is not just educational, it's wonderful, fascinating fun. Highly recommended
Very interesting look at the life of Charles Darwin and the scope of his work. Some of the science talk got a little old, but if you were into that type of thing a little more than I am it probably wouldn't be an issue at all. It was interesting to read about the sensation his work caused and his and his friends and families reactions to it for sure.
Martin Turnbull
It took several attempts to read this brick-like novelization of the life of Charles Darwin and in the end it became the book to read while the next library book was being delivered. Reading more as a detailed biography than a novel, this book turned into a very interesting read about the life of one of the most influential people of modern life.

I had read most of Irving Stone's biographical novels back in the 60s and 70s, but not this one. My brother dug it off a bookshelf during a recent visit and passed it along. So far, quite wonderful, and we haven't even got the HMS Beagle to the Galapagos yet.
Margo Bates
This was one of the first books I ready by Irving Stone. Well written, and a very detailed and interesting account of Charles Darwin and company ... I learned a lot, and decided Mr. Stone was one of the better authors of the 80's.
Extraordinary treatment of the life of Charles Darwin. Set aside whatever discomfort you may have with evolution or intelligent design; just enjoy the sweeping story of early 1800's England and a voyage around the world on the HMS Beagle.
This is one of my favorite books,a biographical novel about Charles Darwin,a personal hero of mine.Irving Stone has such a wonderful way of bringing history to life.All of his books are well worth reading.
Stefani Hite
Glad to have read this book on Darwin before visiting the Galapagos Islands ... fascinating man. However, I think I'll be putting off reading any Victorian novels for a while!
Fascinating following of Darwin in his early years, how he made some of his discoveries, and that so many of the samples he sent home were not even examined for decades.
I came to appreciate Mr. Stone so much via this book. Has anyone read "The Agony and the Ecstasy?" Or anything else that you would recommend by Mr. Irving Stone?
Steve Van Slyke
This was my first historical fiction. I didn't want it to end. Stone brought Darwin to life for me. By the end of the book I felt almost as if I knew him personally.
Totally eye opening to me. I had fallen for all the bad publicity his opponents have put out over the years. I really flet for him and his family.
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In 1923, Stone received his bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. In the 1960s, Stone received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Southern California, where he had previously earned a Masters Degree from the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.

When at home, Stone relied upon the research facilities and expertise made available to him by Esther Euler...more
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