To put it succinctly, the narrator ruined this book for me. Maybe Mr. Sklar would be great reading Shakespeare but this book is a work of non-fiction. I was constantly distracted by his attempts at reading life into the words, laughing at times, most times very animated, and always inappropriate in my perspective. There are very few books for which I am bothered by the narrator, but this is certainly one.
Now, as for the book itself... I like the history of science and great scientists. The Clockwork Universe did contain quite a bit of information about Newton, et al., that I didn't know and found intriguing. However it seemed a bit disjointed to me, even for non-fiction, bouncing around from one time period to another without context.
Probability of Listening to it Again: 1
Would Purchase Again Knowing What I Know Now: 1
It is difficult to imagine a target readership for this book. If you are not academically inclined, the subject matter will not be interesting. If you are, then the material is too basic to hold your attention. Maybe it is for teenage children; maybe it is for people who learn their history from cable TV.
The narrator over-acts and has a voice that is mismatched to the material: the performance sounds like a trailer for a movie about someone who has stolen money from the Mafia. Quotes from other writers are delivered in an ironic tone of voice, as though the words are somehow funny or quaint, even when the subject matter suggests otherwise.
There is an additional problem for British readers: while some American accents are pleasant and transparent, this one isn't. It set my teeth on edge.
Readers on both sides of the Atlantic should avoid this audio book; British readers should run away screaming.
The book attempts to understand the historical context of a major intellectual change rather than describe scientific innovation and so is more an intellectual history than a history of science itself. Nevertheless it is interesting, particularly the discussions of the strange beliefs that the fathers of modern chemistry and physics held. The member of the royal society did not imagine they were starting the world in the direction it is going today. I find this type of thing fascinating.
The narrator has a good voice, easy to listen to, but is insufferable at times. His narration is overdramatic and pedantic. I agree with the reviewer who writes that Sklar speaks down to the listener. The narrator actually chuckles at several points during the reading, like when he says "nature abhors a vacuum". I found this distracting and annoying, and it took away from an otherwise fun history.
Having read biographies of Newton, I had hoped that this would focus more on the Royal Society, but the author took a broader approach by reviewing the development of science leading up to the Royal Society and then spent most of the time reviewing Newton's life. I would have preferred more on the the History of Fishes and other more obscure stories from the period. The narrator has been criticized in some reviews, but I though he was fine for what he had to work with.
The book actually made me pity that I did not listen to history lessons at school more carefully. I found it amazing how powerful some minds can be, how they can break beyond the limits of the current knowledge. Can you calculate how far the moon is? 400 years ago, they could...
It has been a few months since I listened to The Clockwork Universe so I cannot go into minute detail, but I can say that there are many long term lessons that you will retain from this book.
Even our greatest thinkers are floundering in the dark most of the time but occasionally shining glimpses of light on our world and universe for future generations to follow.
Even Newton, one of our greatest thinkers, spent most of his life exploring worthless theories but his successes were extraordinary.
This is a story of "The Royal Society" and the doers and thinkers who were its members. It is more than history. It gives us an insight into both our ignorance and our knowledge. At any given moment in history perhaps there are only a few dozen or now maybe a few hundred people who are discovering scientific truths that will profoundly alter all future generations.
This story is both remarkable and enjoyable. We owe a huge debt to those individuals in the Royal Society who changed the world forever. Long after the politicians, generals and admirals of the day are forgotten the members of the Royal Society, if not the Royal Society itself, will be remembered.
This book describes the "Scientific Revolution" and its key players. Revolutions, except for the one in France, move the world up to the next level. Today, we are in the opening chapters of the "Information Revolution", which few of us understand, and still fewer can even contemplate. This book gives us some perspective as to what happens to society when "the earth moves".
Very good at placing Newton in ideological as well as scientific and historical context. Does a great job at explaining Newton's thought to the non-specialist and why it is still important.
Newton's fight with Hook and others was well narrated.
No, but I did want more.
Money well spent on a really interesting and informative read.
yes, because it's too much information to absorb in one go
how could you do that to history novel?
he's my favorite narrator. Makes everything fun to listen to
absolutely not. Way to meaty
I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.
This book sets everything up with a concise account of the kinds of nonsense and "old wives' tales" people believed back in the Middle Ages. It's important to note that people in those times weren't stupid, but superstition permeated everything, and society kept locks on the doors of advancement for a long time, often out of fear. And then little by little, some brave and brilliant minds risked ridicule or worse and slowly unlocked the secrets that transformed our understanding and gave birth to modern science. This is that story of what they did, how they did it, and some of the drama that unfolded because of it. That drama is precisely why I make the remark in the title of this review. This book will reveal that the Dark Ages weren't quite so dark, the Enlightenment wasn't that enlightening, and yet we made it this far in spite of ourselves because of the chain of events that did transpire. It's an interesting account that fills in some of the story behind the story.