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The Hinge of the World: In Which Professor Galileo Galilei, Chief Mathematician and Philosopher to His Serene Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and His Holiness Urban VIII Hardcover – June, 1998

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

A plodding stage play that explores, or more precisely fails sufficiently to explore, Galileo's conflict with the Church. Goodwin was a speech writer for JFK and LBJ, and then a supporter of the ill-starred Robert Kennedy. During the 1970s and '80s he published successful books about politics and American life, among them Remembering America: A Voice from the Sixties (1988) and The American Condition (1974). Now he has tried his hand at what might be called nonfiction drama or even, sad to say, nondramatic drama. For in spite of its supercharged historical material (deftly managed by Bertolt Brecht in his Galileo Galilei) Goodwin's piece lacks the spark of dramatic electricity that makes a play work. From a writer of Goodwin's background we might reasonably expect a revealing exploration of the way science, belief, and politics intermingle and shape our lives. Alas, this overly long and muddy farrago will not satisfy most readers. Its characters are too poorly drawn, undermined not least of all by the language with which they must express themselves. Here is Galileo with his newly discovered instrument, the telescope, presented to us as a sort of Peeping Tom: ``The moon. Full-bottomed Eve: grafted by God as comfort to the fugitive earth. So ripe tonight. So swollen with sweet invitation. Do you mock the men you madden with unconsummated desire? I wonder. Let me see if I can peek beneath the hem of your borrowed radiance.'' Goodwin is not successful in making science sexy, though it seems to be an underlying intention of the book. What one is finally left with is a play that responsibly illustrates certain famous historical events, but it does so without revealing anything new about them or giving them any sense of renewed intensity. Not really a play, not really a novel, and not really too interesting at all. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 209 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (T); 1st edition (June 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374170029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374170028
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,727,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Remember the movie "Quiz Show", a Goodwin written expose about the scandal of rigging and cover-up of a popular TV game show? His telling of Galileo Galilei and the Holy Catholic Church in the form of theatrical script is as clever and compelling. I would LOVE to witness this done in readers theater. Trustworthy research.
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