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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
A successful screenwriter with a lucrative income and a lifestyle to match, Matthew Chapman found himself in the middle of a midlife crisis in his late 40s. The great-great-grandson of the famed scientist Charles Darwin, Chapman decided to reclaim his integrity by writing a book. The subject matter of the book "was not an arbitrary choice" -- it was to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Scopes "Monkey" trial, "the trial of a schoolteacher accused of teaching evolution in defiance of Tennessee law."
Chapman contracts with his publisher to travel from his home in New York to the Bible Belt of Dayton, Tennessee, the celebrated small town where the trial took place, and to observe the town's annual theatrical event: the reenactment of the trial itself. But what the author failed to take into account when he set out on this journey was that "I was on the verge of my own crisis, spiritual and otherwise." While compiling his research on the trial, Chapman reflects back on his life, and "another book, a book within a book, began to form, an accidental memoir." As Chapman's humorous narrative details the "philosophical skirmish between religion and reason," he comes to the realization that "I had fallen off the rails. Perhaps this other book would help me climb back on." And indeed, it does. (Fall 2001 Selection)