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How you see this book depends on what you expect!
on November 28, 2009
If you expect this book to illuminate the lives of natural philosophers and scientists; to detail their idiosyncracies, oddities, obsessions, and personalities; to explore the politics and prevailing social and religious winds of their day -- then this book will be a joy for you to read, and you will delight in its pages.
If you expect this book to describe the thinking of these intellectual forefathers and -mothers of ours; to sort through their theories and how they arrived at them; to paint a big picture of the history of science that enables you to see the overarching themes and trends -- then this book, sadly, will be a disappointment.
There is no doubt that Gribbin has written a tale that is grand in scope, expansive in nature, and overall exciting, enthralling and even downright juicy (who would have thought that the lives of natural philosophers and scientists were filled with such scandal and self-indulgence?). However, one should approach this book with the knowledge that it is more about quirks than quarks, more about natural passions than natural laws, and more about the history of scientific personalities than the history of scientific thought.