Bibliophile and student of life.
I suspect this book was written for folks who are relatively unfamiliar with the history of Newton's discoveries and involvement with the English Royal Society. The story timeline was jumpy, moving from early years to late, then back to early and late, again. Had I not already known this tale, I would have been pretty confused about the sequence of events after listening to this account. Additionally, the narrative was excessively repetitive. There are numerous wonderful books explaining the history of Newtons discoveries, but this one is not among them. However, the narrator does a fantastic job, the content was just poor.
This book is certainly a lot of fun for anyone with a passing interest in intellectual history in general, or the turn of the eighteenth century in England in specific. If you're already pretty versed in the beginnings of the Royal Society or the life of Isaac Newton, you probably won't learn very much, but Dolnick's handling of the subject matter is still engaging and makes it feel like you're listening to a story about some old friends. A great aspect of this book is that it pays particular attention to the interpersonal relationships between the great minds of the era. Newton's feuds could fill a book of their own, but this book handles some of the big ones rather neatly.
I would like to point out, however, that the reading is pretty grating. Alan Sklar certainly has a pleasant speaking voice, but his delivery of the material seems almost condescending at times. At several points in the narration, he actually chuckles while delivering some lines, and the result is that he comes across as holding the primary sources in contempt, whether that is actually true or not. Some of the great discoveries of that time have become practically cliché, but in their original context they deserve more respect than this reading gives them.
Still, this book is an enjoyable experience from start to finish. As someone who has researched this particular period fairly extensively, I didn't really learn much from it, but I enjoyed listening. I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the Scientific Revolution, or what kind of man Sir Isaac Newton actually was.
This book is full of fascinating history and science. It reads more as a story rather than an historical reference, though. But having a hard copy version would be useful to refer back to for the sheer density of information. The author presents the material in a logical, well-organized manner with an entertaining style. The narrator, however, tended toward monotony now and again. Still, his diction was clear and the recording lacked any true quirky irritations.
If you like science and want some more science history; this is a nice choice. I don't finish a ton of books, but I made it all the way through in a relatively short period. Now on to some Einstein vs Bohr.
I really liked the descriptions of how life was in this time. Very clear and accurate picture.
Learning how paranoid newton was of his rivals
Leibnitz was an amazing mathematician who never got his due because of newton and the way life unfolded for him....
No - the story just stuck with me for days after finishing it
narrator was good
Narrator kept it interesting if a bit condescending
Will put I my short list of books to listen to again.
Historical fiction had nothing on the history of our world view.
I will recommend this book other science geeks,
This is quite simply an amazing exploration of the history of science and the great minds that drove it's unceasing progress. It made my top ten audiobooks (of of more than 200 over four years). This is science history brought to life and a good purchase for anyone with an interest in science or just needs a gripping narrative to draw them into the book.
The book offers a decent, general overview of the changes at work in European intellectual life in the latter half of the 17th century. The book is for the general reader; anyone with much knowledge about the history of science or of European history in general is likely to find the first half of the book a little tedious, but the presentation is probably helpful for younger or less informed readers. The drawback is the 'characterful' (read Hammy) reader whose forced, overripe performance makes the book sound silly and superficial. The book deserved better.
When I find myself eager to talk about the contents of a book I consider it to be an excellent read. This book caused me to annoy many friends. I hope I can find the time to listen again.
Meh. I feel churlish giving Alan Sklar a bad review because there is clearly a lot of effort there, but try less hard, please, Mr. Sklar. The little chuckles and rolling intonations distract from listening to the story and make you as the reader feel condescended to.
The rivalry between Isaac Newton and Robert Hooke and the patient help of Edmund Halley were the most interesting parts but the book dawdled far too long on breathless descriptions about how "It was REALLY different back then!"
Stagey. We want to hear the author, not the narrator.