The Intersection

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I don’t know if I ever disclosed this, but…back before I knew I was doing Storm World, I was seriously contemplating writing a narrative account of the Dover evolution trial for my second book. Now, well, I’m kinda glad I didn’t. You see, there are not one, not two, but three books in the hopper about the subject, the first of which is already out. They are: The Battle Over the Meaning of Everything: Evolution, Intelligent Design, and a School Board in Dover, PA, by Gordy Slack; 40 Days and 40 Nights: Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, Oxycontin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania, by Matthew Chapman; and Monkey Girl: Education, Evolution, Religion, and the Battle for America’s Soul, by Edward Humes. This last one came out last month.

I don’t know about you, but in my view, Matthew Chapman’s book has by far the most interesting title. Plus I met him at the trial and found him a very nice guy. Plus, he’s actually a real live Darwin descendent. Still, I wouldn’t want to be in competition with two other seemingly interchangeable books, even if Chapman’s seems most likely to stand out from the crowd. Monkey Girl‘s author apparently won a Pulitzer, but his book promises to tell the story “from the perspectives of all sides of the battle,” which sounds to me like it might be too “balanced”….but in any event, I encourage you to check all of them out, and then write a 5,000 word essay comparing and contrasting. Actually, I bet the New York Review of Books has already assigned one…


  1. #1 Kristjan Wager
    February 12, 2007

    PZ Myers wrote a rather positive review of Monkey Girl

  2. #2 Jim Lippard
    February 12, 2007

    Chapman has a prior book, _Trials of the Monkey: An Accidental Memoir_, about the Scopes trial and his visit to Dayton, TN.

    Chapman is a screenwriter (“Runaway Jury”, “Consenting Adults”, “Strangers Kiss”, “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”) and husband of Brazilian actress Denise Teixeira (daughter of Humberto Teixeira, co-author of “Asa Branca”), and ex-husband of Victoria Tennant (before Steve Martin married and divorced her).

  3. #3 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    February 12, 2007

    You need to get busy on your next book, the expose of homeopathy entitled The Royal Family’s War on Science.

  4. #4 Michele
    February 12, 2007

    Matthew Chapman wrote an interesting and entertaining article a year ago for Harpers. I’m glad to see that he expanded it into a book.

  5. #5 Jen
    February 18, 2007

    I just finished reading Monkey Girl. It’s possible that my bias caused me to read more into it than was actually there, but I felt the author fairly clearly felt that the outcome of the trial was justified. Yes, the story was told from multiple perspectives, but I did not get a sense of false balance. Humes tried to present what he felt was the truth, based on his research, and not just an aggregation of each player’s version of the truth.