The Monk in the Garden Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Monk in the Garden

Everybody knows the basic story from biology class of Gregor Mendel, the Moravian monk who grew peas in his monastery garden and managed to discover the patterns of genetic inheritance without anyone else realizing the importance of his work during his lifetime. Henig relates what little is known of his life (there's something sweet about his failing twice to pass oral exams for teacher certification, and his youthful depressions, when he took to his bed for 4 to 12 months at a time), and places his life and work in their greater context. The last third of the book details the subsequent fight to accord his work its proper credit. In pleasant and uncomplicated prose, she sketches in the roles of Darwin, Huxley, Bateson, and the others, and though she has a tendency to favor an apocryphal tale "because it is a beautiful metaphor" (and why spend a page on the World War I poet Rupert Brooke, just because Bateson lived for a time in the village of his birth?), at least she's open about it. Not a deep or revelatory book, but an undemanding read for the lay person.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Monk in the Garden

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Plot & Themes

job/profession:    -   religious figure Job/profession/poverty story    -   Yes Which institution    -   religious order Life in an institution    -   Yes

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   scientist Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   Eastern European


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK    -   Eastern Europe City?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch?    -   Yes Farm/Ranch:    -   lot of descript of crop raising Century:    -   19th century

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   thoughtful How much dialogue in bio?    -   little dialog How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?    -   0-25% of book

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Robin Marantz Henig Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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