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The Pope and the Heretic: The True Story of Giordano Bruno, the Man Who Dared to Defy the Roman Inquisition Paperback – October 21, 2003
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About the Author
Michael White is a former science editor of British GQ, as well as previous Director of Scientific Studies at d'Overbroeck's college, Oxford. He is the author of hundreds of articles covering the cutting edge of science, as well as popular and classical music. A consultant for the Discovery Channel series "The Science of the Impossible," White is the author of a dozen books, including bestselling biographies of Stephen Hawking, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, and Isaac Asimov. He lives with his wife and daughter in London, England.
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Top customer reviews
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The key flaw in the book is White's attempt to place Bruno's work in a historical context, which merely results in disjointed coverage of his actual philosophy and extremely unconvincing attempts to show Bruno's supposedly vast influence on figures like Galileo, Shakespeare, and Spinoza. White takes the opportunity to cover, in two short chapters, the evolution and history of scientific and religious thought in Europe (chapters II and III), but these treatments are far too basic too be of much use, and show the writing style of a quick high school research paper. White even assumes that he's qualified to call the works of Aristotle "amateurish." Another possibility that is squandered is deeper insight into the causes and effects of the Inquisition, but White only provides a basic reporter's coverage of Bruno's trial.
Worst yet is the biographical aspect of the book, as the story of Bruno's life is out of order and fragmented. His actual philosophical and scientific works, which should be the centerpiece of the book, are given short shrift, especially his important attempts at unified knowledge rather than specialization. White fails as a biographer as he includes the supposed private thoughts and opinions of Bruno and the other players in the story, men who have been dead for centuries and didn't write autobiographies. This is unprofessional and quite impossible to take seriously. In the end, we are left with little knowledge of Bruno the man and his potentially important story, so one must wonder about the very point of the book. Not recommended.