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The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World Hardcover – October 30, 2002
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Uglow's spirited look at this group of remarkable "lunaticks" captures a critical, short-lived moment of early modern history. Readers who share their conviction that knowledge brings power will find this book a rewarding adventure. --Gregory McNamee
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- Publisher : Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition (October 30, 2002)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 608 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0374194408
- ISBN-13 : 978-0374194406
- Item Weight : 2 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.25 x 2 x 9.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #502,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As a group, they believed in vigorous empirical validation of concepts, and that unrestricted access to knowledge was the best way to promote democracy and safeguard against tyranny. They developed close ties with the Royal Society and the Society of Arts, indicating the quality of their contributions. Whether the author is describing hydraullics or pottery, steam engines or the segregation of oxygen, fossils or canals, the narrative is clear and concise, and fairly easy to follow even in the more technical areas. It soon becomes obvious that a lot was going on in the British Enlightenment other than just in London. One of the major byproducts of the book is that one has a much better idea of the environment that shaped the young Charles Darwin as he grew up surrounded by all this scientific activity. Excellent notes; many helpful illustrations are included; and an extrememly useful chronology that ranges from 1704 until 1859 and the publication of "Origin of Species." A very important consideration is the book is just fun to read.
Yet, for all the wonder that these names invoke, Jenny Uglow's work fails to provide the reader with a true sense of understanding. The book's theme or direction is not clear. She seems to jump about without explanation and the reader is left to catch up. This is a great shame. Indeed, if the events could have been more succinctly tied together, "The Lunar Men" could have been a great book. As it is, the concept is great but the follow through is lacking.
My recommendation to readers is that the book be read (albeit only with luke warm encouragement) but beware that a theme is missing and no one character stands out. This is a pity as the concept behind the book is grand.
This is a book I will treasure.
Richard William Nelson
Darwin, Then and Now: The Most Amazing Story in the History of Science