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Discarded Science: Ideas That Seemed Good at the Time...
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Top Customer Reviews
However, Grant spends a good amount of time lambasting crackpots who have cropped up from time to time, many of whom were never taken seriously in the first place. The book would have been much more interesting had he stuck to describing what was the orthodox thinking, even if it was wrong. A Rogue's Gallery of Nutcases would have made an entertaining (other) book.
The illustrations in the book are black line drawings with red backgrounds that are very tough on the eyes.
That being said, some of the actual presentation left a lot to be desired. The peculiar red line-art illustrations (to prevent photocopying..?) were kind of an eyesore, and the book itself has kind of peculiar dimensions (very compact yet extremely thick) that make it somewhat unwieldy and unappealing. If you can look past the unattractive presentation, this book is definitely worth a look. It's fascinating to see what bizarre ideas used to lurk in the shadowy periphery of science, even in the relatively recent past.
John Grant neatly divides his attractive hardcover into six general categories, including "Worlds in Upheaval," "Lost Worlds, Lost People, Lost Creatures," "Survival of the Brightest," "Aliens Among Us," "Hard Science," and "Us . . . Or Something Like Us." These categories are further subdivided into user-friendly, illustrated chapters that examine everything outre from Atlantis to the Zetetic Society. The writing is lucid and at times very funny.
DISCARDED SCIENCE is the best non-fiction book I've read in ages. It's entertaining and very informative, and the price is more than reasonable. I highly recommend it for those interested in science, or for those who want to educate themselves about the history of scientific folly.
Morever, I enjoy popular science in many genres - books about biology, astronomy, paleontology, natural history, ethology, human psychology and physiology - such as Leslie Brothers's 2001 "Friday's Footprint: How Society Shapes the Human Mind," John McCrone's "The Ape that Spoke" (1991) and "The Myth of Irrationality: The Science of the Mind from Plato to Star Trek" (1994), Colin Tudge's "The Tree: A Natural History of What Trees Are, How They Live, and Why They Matter" (2006), Frans de Waal's "The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections of a Primatologist" (2002), and so many more.
I could list more titles, but I've mentioned the above for the benefit of those interested in particular disciplines. John Grant has written a delightful study of debunked and outdated theories and beliefs. "Discarded Science" will fascinate everyone from high school readers to adults who retain a youthful sense of wonder, not to mention a sense of humor.
Grant has composed his history of science gone awry as partly biographical, partly chronological, entirely informative and highly entertaining.
As a librarian, I recommend this for all libraries.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
From the jumbled organization to the forced and awkward verbiage, this is a highly unsatisfying read. Which is a shame, because the subject is so good.... Don't waste your time.Published 16 months ago by Steven
An okay read. Has many entertaining stories about crackpots. I wished that the author would have tried to debunk more mainstream science ideas rather than ones that were probably... Read morePublished 16 months ago by SpartinStuff
An amazing range of topics. Not only explanation of ideas that are generally questionable today or outright rejected but also good insight to current scientific concepts.Published on December 14, 2013 by DOUGLAS W BURT
John Grant writes with humor and it shines thru in all his works. I first became aware of him from his brilliant 'Directory of Discarded Ideas' back in the late Seventies. Read morePublished on January 19, 2013 by Thomas McLean
Science history and outmoded theories is a fascinating subject in its own right with several theories about the nature of the universe having been adopted, accepted and reluctantly... Read morePublished on January 17, 2012 by Tim Lieder
We owned this book and cannot find it, so I ordered it from this place. It arrived in a timely manner and is in perfect condition. Read morePublished on January 16, 2011 by Amazon Customer
This is an engagingly written and enlightened book that covers ideas in "discarded" science. It provides a marvellous debunking of many poor but historically important... Read morePublished on April 20, 2009 by Amazon Customer
Perhaps a better sub-title would be "why I'm so smart and everyone else in the past was so stupid." I was looking forward to understanding how some of the scientific ideas in the... Read morePublished on February 10, 2008 by Kenneth Reeves
Vitalism is a profoundly science-ejected concept, though many CAM or 'natural health' cabals falsely claim that vitalism survives scientific scrutiny. Read morePublished on January 19, 2008 by Robert J. Cullen