This acclaimed biography of 19th century scientist Gregor Mendel is "a fascinating tale of the strange twists and ironies of scientific progress" (Publishers Weekly).
A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist
In The Monk in the Garden, award-winning author Robin Marantz Henig vividly chronicles the birth of genetics, a field that continues to challenge the way we think about life itself. Tending to his pea plants in a monastery garden, the Moravian monk Gregor Mendel discovered the foundational principles of genetic inheritance. But Mendel's work was ignored during his lifetime, even though it answered the most pressing questions raised by Charles Darwin's revolutionary book, On the Origin of Species.
Thirty-five years after his death, Mendel's work was saved from obscurity when three scientists from three different countries nearly simultaneously dusted off his groundbreaking paper and finally recognized its profound significance. From the perplexing silence that greeted his discovery to his ultimate canonization as the father of genetics, Henig presents a tale filled with intrigue, jealousy, and a healthy dose of bad timing. Though little is known about Mendel's life, she "has done a remarkable job of fleshing out the myth with what few facts there are" (Washington Post Book World).