*Starred Review* “Have faith, Galileo, and go forth.” So Kepler urged on his gifted Italian contemporary. But in this insightful biography, Heilbron shows readers that as Galileo heeded Kepler’s urging, he went forth with faith not only in an ingeniously devised telescope but also in poetically inspired words. Readers see the often-forgotten literary side of the great astronomer, the side aflame with a passion for Dante and Ariosto just as ardent as his better-known enthusiasm for Euclid and Archimedes. Heilbron indeed reveals how Galileo’s sometimes-combative advocacy of great literary art prepared him for the rhetorical task of winning converts to Copernican cosmology. For in defending the creative geometry of Dante’s hell against hostile critics, Galileo honed his gift for well-crafted polemics, so priming himself for the task of championing a revolutionary scientific paradigm. For only by developing an imagination as capacious as Dante’s was Galileo able to wrap his mind around a previously undreamed-of universe, governed by radically new heliocentric principles. Of course, many seventeenth-century clerics lacked Galileo’s intellectual daring, and Heilbron teases out the various subplots swirling around the famous confrontation between Galileo and his ecclesiastical antagonists. A complete portrait illuminating how a bold pioneer forged surprising links between science and the humanities. --Bryce Christensen
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"Will no doubt become the standard, comprehensive biography."
--New York Times Book Review
"A masterpiece...It far surpasses all previous biographies of Galileo. Impeccable scholarship."
--Nick Jardine, Professor of the History and Philosophy of Sciences, Cambridge University
"Heilbron's biography is by far the richest account yet produced in English."