- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; English Language edition (August 5, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312382081
- ISBN-13: 978-0312382087
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1.4 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,070,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea Hardcover – August 5, 2008
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
From Publishers Weekly
Garwood, historian of science at the Open University in England, presents a thoroughly enjoyable first book. Examining the belief that the world is flat from a wide array of perspectives, she makes some important points. She demonstrates quite convincingly, for example, that, contrary to what most people believe, the ancients knew the world was not flat: the earth has been widely believed to be a globe since the fifth century B.C. Only in the 19th century did acceptance of a flat earth spread, promoted largely by biblical literalists. Garwood does an impressive job of comparing those flat-earthers with modern-day creationists. She also makes the case that it's all but impossible to argue effectively with true believers. Modern believers assert that the space program is a hoax. In 1994, on the 25th anniversary of the first manned landing on the moon, a Washington Post poll estimated that approximately 20 million Americans thought the landing was staged on Earth, underscoring that some outrageous beliefs still hold sway. Garwood is respectful throughout, analyzing the philosophical underpinnings of those who have doubted, and continue to doubt, the Earth's rotundity. (Aug.)
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“An energetic, all-inclusive, and amusing account of man’s impressive capacity for self-delusion. Every creationist should read it.” ---Steve Jones, author of Darwin’s Ghost
“Highly entertaining and often hilarious.” ---Sunday Telegraph
“The focus of Garwood’s impressive research is a forgotten episode
in the history of science.” ---New Scientist
“A glorious romp around the world of Flat Earthism.” ---Daily Express
“Garwood’s often hilarious book is a serious look at an aberrant belief and those who took it up in modern times, centuries after the ?at Earth had been scientifically dismissed. . . . Garwood’s books shows just how doggedly faith in an unscienti?c idea can hold.” ---The Commercial Dispatch
“[A] quirky and highly entertaining slice of intellectual history. Elicits plentiful laughter and astonishment.” ---Sunday Times
“Wonderful . . . dispassionate, and understanding.” ---Financial Times
Top Customer Reviews
Educated medieval people did not believe the Earth to be flat. In fact, if they studied their Plato, Aristotle, or Euclid, they knew the shape of the Earth. The Columbus story was appealing to those who unnecessarily wanted to promote a view of science in eternal warfare with religion.Read more ›
Garwood's book actually goes far beyond the ground covered by Burton Russell's excellent study of the Columbus myth. In fact, the main focus of her book (in chapters 2 through 11 & epilogue) is a different, albeit related, topic - the Victorian public revival of the flat earth idea through flat earth societies that existed in the period 1840-2001. The book is also based on a great amount of original archival research (including a series of unexplored archives of modern day flat earth societies in UK, US and Canada), has 28 pages of end-notes and a bibliography 23 pages long. Contrary to what R.B Cathcart claims, it is an exemplary piece of historical research by a professional historian.
The moral of the story? Bother to read the book before publishing public reviews!!
She wrote in the Prologue of this 2007 book, “the military metaphor employed by Draper [History Of The Conflict Between Religion And Science] and White [A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom]… seized the popular imagination … warfare became the common framework for analyses of the relationship between science and religion … the idea that medieval people thought the earth was flat and Columbus discovered it was round and was recycled until it became standard fare… The myth is all too convenient: the flat-earth idea has become shorthand for ‘Dark Age’ stupidity… before the Enlightenment ear of progress and science… we can assume a sense of superiority and security in our progress from an ignorant and deluded age… Under these circumstances, it is somewhat ironic that … flat-earth belief has a chronology far stranger than all the inventions.” (Pg. 13-14)
She states, “the Bible presents a reasonably clear and consistent view of a tiered universe based on the Sumero-Babylonian model. In this system, the cosmos consists of the vault of heaven… or ‘firmament,’ containing the sun, moon and stars (Genesis 1:14-17).Read more ›
In the conclusion, the author compares the round earth deniers to evolution deniers, how they are both often based on religious objections but she points out that they don't always fall in the same camp.
The book bogs down in places as the author goes into great detail on the activities of some of the societies and their founders. I scanned through a few pages in several places. This was enough to lose one star, otherwise I would have awarded 4 stars for general interest.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really the history of a correct idea. Those who disagree with it, probably have never read the books Christine mentions. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Dennis Gannon
Christine Garwood is a freelance writer and researcher; she has also written Mid-Victorian Britain (Shire Living Histories) and Museums in Britain: A History. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Steven H Propp
Great book! Manages to encapsulate everything I find amazing about my latest obsessional topic, the Victorian renaissance of an 1900-year-old idea of a flat earth, and it's... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Brian D. Babiak
I'm only about one third of the way through this book. I'm enjoying it but there are a few really irritating features. She unfairly ridicules flat earth believers way to much. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Awake
The idea of a flat Earth has always been with humanity, and evidence to the contrary has not always been persuasive for those with a desire to believe the Earth is flat. Read morePublished on May 7, 2010 by Roger D. Launius
Belief that the earth is flat has an amazing history - and this fascinating book appears to cover most of it. Read morePublished on March 5, 2010 by George Poirier
The pathways through which the history of scientific progress can be mapped are strewn with the remains of overturned ideas and outdated pronouncements, some cranky and (with... Read morePublished on September 29, 2008 by J. Ollerton