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Stone Irving : Origin [Paperback]

Irving Stone
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Darwin's shoes April 1 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Irving Stone is no stranger to the art of lively historical biography. Indeed, he has made it his own particular area of expertise and developed his craft to a thoroughly respectable level. Coming to Darwin after Van Gogh, I knew I was going to be in safe hands. What I didn't know was how Darwin himself was going to affect me. Stone has us walking in his shoes. The very paths he trod, be it the lyme walks along the river near his birthplace or the lava-fields of Peru, are our paths. Such is the skill of the author. I cannot understand why this is not a popular book. It has just about everything going for it: a famous author with a competent pen; an even more famous naturalist as its centrepiece. Can it be that poor old Charles is out of fashion? I hope that these few crumbs may incite a further readership. You will not be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charles Darwin, the Human Being! Feb. 15 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Irving Stone gives us a beautiful depiction of the character of the real Charles Darwin, and how he came to his breakthrough scientific insights. Charles Darwin, it turns out, was an immensely likeable character, with an adventuresome spirit, immense energy, a genuine humility, and warm sense of humor. Stone's brilliant portrayal shows us how Darwin was always guided by really examining what he saw and experienced, and letting his questions guide him, through a lifetime of earnest questing for knowledge and understanding. Anyone who doubts that such a devoted scientist could also make such a fascinating literary figure, will be delighted by Irving Stone's illuminating storytelling. Now, we can esteem Darwin all the more for his humaneness, which serves to magnify his genius!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest story ever told? Nov. 11 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I hope to write a proper review after I've read the book again. I originally read it 2 years ago and although it has stuck with me all that time, I'm not able to say more than that the 2 other reviewers are spot on, and that I think this may be the greatest story ever told. Yes, my tongue is in my cheek about that line, but it is fitting too in many ways. This is a story about what science and reason and passion and democracy and empire and very human nature has brought us. This was a pivotal point in the history of mankind, in my humble opinion, and this book gives us a brief glimpse into that very close past and reminds us that we are only here for a short while but that our story goes on and on.

Note that I have also just read the freely available epub version of Darwin's autobiography on my free phone book reader (nokia symbian phone in this case so your experience may differ), and it is like dessert to this sumptious meal that Stone provides.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Darwin's shoes April 1 2000
By Owen Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Irving Stone is no stranger to the art of lively historical biography. Indeed, he has made it his own particular area of expertise and developed his craft to a thoroughly respectable level. Coming to Darwin after Van Gogh, I knew I was going to be in safe hands. What I didn't know was how Darwin himself was going to affect me. Stone has us walking in his shoes. The very paths he trod, be it the lyme walks along the river near his birthplace or the lava-fields of Peru, are our paths. Such is the skill of the author. I cannot understand why this is not a popular book. It has just about everything going for it: a famous author with a competent pen; an even more famous naturalist as its centrepiece. Can it be that poor old Charles is out of fashion? I hope that these few crumbs may incite a further readership. You will not be disappointed.
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STILL A GOOD READ AFTER ALL THESE YEARS Sept. 19 2004
By D. Blankenship - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I first read this one in the early 80s. I picked if off my shelf again, a few days ago, and enjoyed it all over again. Being a student of the life of Charles Darwin, I have read the majority of the major biographies over the past twenty years. While this work is a fictionalized version of Darwin's life, and is certainly overly simplistic at times, there, nevertheless, is no doubt the author did his homework on this one. For a good simple read, and an understanding of the man Darwin (not his work), I highly recommend this one. Mr. Stone is certainly a master of his craft.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charles Darwin, the Human Being! Feb. 15 2001
By Cindy Margulis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Irving Stone gives us a beautiful depiction of the character of the real Charles Darwin, and how he came to his breakthrough scientific insights. Charles Darwin, it turns out, was an immensely likeable character, with an adventuresome spirit, immense energy, a genuine humility, and warm sense of humor. Stone's brilliant portrayal shows us how Darwin was always guided by really examining what he saw and experienced, and letting his questions guide him, through a lifetime of earnest questing for knowledge and understanding. Anyone who doubts that such a devoted scientist could also make such a fascinating literary figure, will be delighted by Irving Stone's illuminating storytelling. Now, we can esteem Darwin all the more for his humaneness, which serves to magnify his genius!
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do the evolution Oct. 5 2004
By J R Zullo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Once again, writer Irving Stone provides his readers with a "biographical novel", like his masterpiece, "The agony and the ecstasy" (about Michelangelo). Stone is a very competent author, and takes time to do his researches, so the information you'll find in his books can be trusted to be true - he also provides a bibliography about his "subject" at the end of the story.

"The origin" is about Charles Darwin, the man who came up with the theory of the evolution of the species by natural selection. In fact, Darwin, living in a static, very religious society, was one of the first scientists to dissociate science from religion, even if at the time it was not his intention, and had many problems because of his theories. Darwin's life was very interesting, from his humble beginning as an observer aboard HMS Beagle to his late and prolific years, when he wrote about varied subjects, becoming one of the first "scientific bestsellers" in the world.

Darwin's life is very well depicted in "The origin", and the reading is not a hard one, even if it's kind of slow. But Stone only presents facts, and makes little effort to present his thoughts about the subject. This is not an insightful kind of biography, more like Darwin's diary written in a more pleasant way. Nevertheless, an excellent book, that provides very useful information about one of the greatest men of all times.

Grade 8.6/10
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great example of Irving Stone's peerless skill Aug. 22 2007
By anemones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A novel-biography in Stone's usual style, I found this a eminently readable and gripping account. It was particularly pleasing to see Charles Darwin's life treated "organically" - too many accounts treat his Beagle years and the following decade or two as merely preparatory for the "Origin of the Species", and events that became important only in 1859 are emphasised at the expense of others (see his Wikipedia article for a prime example - you'd think he made no geological observations in South America at all, yet geology was his main motivation at the time.) But people's lives are lived without hindsight - Darwin is no exception - and Stone recognizes this. The evolution of Charles Darwin from a mildly indolent undergraduate to wide-eyed field geologist to desk-bound author to experimental horticulturalist to world-famous naturalist is done with admirable skill. The portraits of his friends Charles Lyell and Joseph Hooker - extremely famous in their own rights - amongst others, are also very well done.

A criticism levelled on Amazon, that too many speech bubbles read like extracts from letters and writings, is warranted. But that's because they *are* quotes! Novel-biographers get pilloried for making too much dialogue up, so why not quote when they can? If it sounds stilted, just read past it - enjoy the fact that the words are at least genuine!

An excellent lightweight introduction to the life of one of science's luminaries.
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