"Irmscher's book is the best biography of an American scientist I have read: warm and acerb, learned and witty, and always in style."
-The Journal of the Federation of American Scientists for Experimental Biology
"It's unlikely that Agassiz will get a better biography in our lifetime... An amazing performance." -Open Letters Monthly
"Christoph Irmscher's important new biography of this outsize figure provides a fresh evaluation of Agassiz's professional and personal life.... [Irmscher's] extensively sourced book provides a more critical evaluation of his subject's life and professional impact--both good and bad--than do many earlier biographies, whose authors had a close personal relationship with the Agassiz family or a longstanding professional affiliation with Harvard."
—The New York Times Book Review "Compelling biography...A masterful portrait illuminating the tangled human dynamics of science."
"In Irmscher’s hands, Agassiz’s life and passions are embedded in the major intellectual ideas of his time…. The relationship between Agassiz and his second wife, Elizabeth Cary Agassiz, the first president of Radcliffe College, is also fascinating."
—Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and The Voyage of the Narwhal "A biography as exuberant as its brilliant but wrong-headed subject, the unforgettable forgotten celebrity scientist Louis Agassiz. Christoph Irmscher is in his element detailing the exploits of this larger-than-life anti-hero of the Age of Darwin, whose feats of discovery took him from the Swiss Alps to the Amazon jungle and made him Harvard’s reigning eminence for decades."
—Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters and Margaret Fuller "Christoph Irmscher has brought to life an essential figure in the history of American science and culture. Irmscher's expertise and talent for vivid prose open a fascinating window onto the origins of American science as we know it."
—Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club "A thoroughly satisfying biography…Irmscher makes a convincing case that this egotistical, often wrongheaded figure deserves his reputation as a founder and first great popularizer of American science."
—Kirkus Reviews "Reading this book is a pleasure - the writing is engaging and witty, while always intellectually rewarding …. Irmscher's account of Agassiz's life reminds us always to examine our own preconceptions concerning the nature of reality and man's place in the universe."
—Tom Cronin, Professor of Biology, University of Maryland