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Grove Karl Gilbert: A Great Engine of Research (American Land & Life) Paperback – August 28, 2007

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews


 "Stephen Pyne has chosen to emphasize the unique Gilbert blend of geology and mechanics in his treatment of Gilbert’s scientific life and career. Pyne’s fresh insights into Gilbert’s four great monographs, and his recognition of a unifying method and motivation in Gilbert’s studies, are sufficient to grant this biography a lasting place in the literature of science history. . . . Pyne’s biography will stand for many years as the definitive study of Gilbert’s scientific contributions, and it will serve as an indisputable reference for any student of nineteenth-century geology."—Annals of Science

"Stephen J. Pyne has filled a gap in the history of American geology by writing the first modern biography of Grove Karl Gilbert . . .His account places Gilbert's professional attainments squarely in the context of other developments in the coming of age of American geology"--Science

About the Author

Stephen Pyne is Regents Professor and historian in the School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, and the author of many books and articles on the history of exploration and environmental history. In 1995 he was awarded the Robert Kirsch Award from the Los Angeles Times for his body-of-work contribution to American letters.

Product Details

  • Series: American Land & Life
  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Iowa Press (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587296187
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587296185
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,672,303 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a compelling story about this man, Grove Karl Gilbert, this is not your book. It is a very informative report on the man's career laid out in textbook fashion. Other than that, the prose lacks the depth for one to actually care personally about the subject. In this biography, Gilbert is depicted as a painful wallflower that goes to the extreme to avoid attention. And while yes, many a bright mind is the introvert, toward the end of the book this deferring of the spotlight becomes mostly claustrophobic to the reader. Another drawback to the layout of this biography is that it is arranged by achievements, not chronologically (as you would expect a story about a geologist that is hinting strongly at geologic evolution). That's fine, but within one subheading we're jumping thirty years backwards and forwards and backwards and onto another milestone that briefly ties to the current one, and then off again. I'm sure Pyne was using the material available to him. It's regrettable that more of Gilbert's personal notes were not included in this piece. The book is perhaps 80 pages too long, fleshing out the surrounding characters of the time Gilbert came into contact with. That's fine too, but too much time is spent on other peripheral persons, and not enough on the subject. If you are looking for reference material to write a report on Gilbert, this is the publication for you. A compelling personal story it is not.
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