Richard Dawkins is one of the most influential and controversial essayists of today. A renowned evolutionary biologist, he currently holds the Charles Simonyi Chair at Oxford University. In his book A Devils Champlain he brings together 25 years and some of his best and most polemic essays (some previously unpublished) with subjects dealing with everything from love to evolution.
He employs his analytical passion to raise some mind-blowing questions and does not back down from challenging what many people consider as fundamental truths. He analyzes very intricate topics and situations through a scientific lens and is able to do it with clarity and simplicity. Although he has been criticized for some strong anti-religions standpoints and instances were his bias affects his writing; I believe that his work, even if you don't agree with it, is worth reading for he definitely makes some very valid points.
I believe Richard Dawkins is one of the elite essayist because of his ability to take on such complex beliefs, brake it down systematically and with the use of some philosophy prove his point; all while keeping a clear and simple style. He displays mastery in several subjects including, but not restricted to physics, biology and philosophy.
This book is divided into seven sections, each with a preamble. These sections are themselves made up of short and varied articles enabling reader is also able to jump from section to section and read different pieces since the order is not overly central. This complemented by his concise style making for a very easy read.
This book is not only a great read but it could change the way you think about some of the most basic things in you're life and will force you to re-analyze several aspects of today's society. I trust that this book made me a more knowledgeable person and taught me to question everything, extending to the things society considers self evident.
My favorite article titled "Trial by Jury" scientifically analyzes the system of trial by jury. This is a system in which the vast majority of the world ardently believes in, and is regarded as the closest humanly possible method of reaching justice. Growing up in America I was a firm believer that it was the ultimate system but after having read the article, in which Dawkins makes some undeniable points against it, I have come to question this system. However, this is the same reaction I had to many of his other articles where he questions things such as truth, religion, and the existence of god.
It is definitely a great introduction to anyone that is interested in Richard Dawkins work. It is one of his more concise pieces in which he reaches concert solutions, and a great prologue to his more intricate and ideological works.