What are things made of? What is the sun? Why is there night and day, winter and summer? Why do bad things happen? Are we alone?
Throughout history people all over the world have invented stories to answer profound questions such as these. Have you heard the tale of how the sun hatched out of an emu’s egg? Or what about the great catfish that carries the world on its back? Has anyone ever told you that earthquakes are caused by a sneezing giant? These fantastical myths are fun – but what is the real answer to such questions?
The Magic of Reality, with its explanations of space, time, evolution and more, will inspire and amaze readers of all ages - young adults, adults, children, octogenarians. Teaming up with the renowned illustrator Dave McKean, Richard Dawkins answers all these questions and many more. In stunning words and pictures this book presents the real story of the world around us, taking us on an enthralling journey through scientific reality, and showing that it has an awe-inspiring beauty and thrilling magic which far exceed those of the ancient myths. We encounter rainbows, earthquakes, tsunamis, shooting stars, plants, animals, and an intriguing cast of characters in this extraordinary scientific voyage of discovery. Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean have created a dazzling celebration of our planet that will entertain and inform for years to come.
©2011 Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward (P)2011 Random House Audiobooks
I would whole heartedly recommend this book and especially this audio version narrated by Richard and his wife, Lala.
I am a biomedical scientist by profession so I thought the content, aimed as it is at 12 yr. olds and up, would be a bit basic. I was, however, pleasantly surprised at how much I learnt. Richard's beautiful prose style makes any book written by him a pleasure to read, but this book is especially charming and it keeps your attention eagerly fixed, as Richard and Lala demystify topic after topic with a sweeping coverage of the basics of science.
Having listened now to several audio books I can honestly say that the effortless way that Richard and Lala read to you is a welcome exception to the rule, and leaves you wishing that they would read aloud all of the books in your audio library.
The alternating voices of Richard and Lala worked very well and enabled me to listen for much longer in one session than I would normally.
I thought that the way that Dawkins introduced each myth with its corollary explanation in several major religious texts, will do a lot to dispel the notion in children's heads that the Christian myths are in any way special or unique.
The insistence on following evidence to where it leads whether you like the result or not I thought was a truly important message for our children in these times of conspiracy theories and religious obscurantism.
Read it and then get your children to read it and maybe there will a future for us all.
Compared to the Selfish Gene, this was much easier to understand and many simple examples are cite. Overall, this is a good book that in classic Dawkin's style raises some logical questions that anyone with a sense of logic and science would appreciate.
Was a great laugh listening to Dawkins dryly explaining why fairy tales like "a pumpkin turning into a stage coach" cannot actually happen. But still had me thinking about some of these topics a bit more than I had to date.
The topic is close to my heart. The authors are favourites of mine. With the book being audible we were treated to hearing their own emotional attachment to the subject. I couldn't get enough and will be giving it a second run through very shortly. Highly recommended for anyone who loves reality and reason.
I have not yet read the print version, so it's hard to say. I really enjoyed the narration by Dawkins and Ward, but I also feel that it would be good to own a copy of this book, given that it contains many illustrations that may help clarify some of the concepts.
Dawkins' 'thought experiments' (you'll see/hear!).
It did what it set out to do, which was to make me feel astonished about "everyday events", such as rainbows, without attributing the phenomena to any kinds of supernatural causes.
If you're looking to learn more about the basic principles/explanations underlying the natural world, then this is a good place to start. Dawkins has a great ability to explain a concept so that the reader/listener can sufficiently understand it without him resorting to being condescending. Also, whenever he goes outside of his area of expertise, evolutionary biology, he emphasises this, thus the listener is assured that they are not being misled.
The Magic of Reality is positioned as a book for children and teens, and compared to the complex biology of most of Dawkins' other books and the vehement arguments of The God Delusion, this is certainly his most accessible of books. But it would be a mistake to think this book is only for younger listeners. It is certainly accessible to them and includes a number of delightful anecdotes and analogies that take complicated ideas from the world of science and make them intelligible to all. But is remains entirely true to the complex laws of the natural world it is concerned with and thus is fascinating listening for all ages. I loved the way each chapter, which centres around a central question or concern, begins by looking at how humans in different eras and on different continents have tried to make sense of this issue. What is the sun? How has the sun been understood through the ages? What do we, with the benefit of modern science, understand the sun to be now? The scientific process is also masterfully explained. The narration is clear and enticing. This makes for a wonderful present for children and teens and, indeed, for adults.
A real book on time and space and reality and so easy to understand.
I love it. Well recemended.
"Not his best work"
I really liked the authors other book "The God Delusion" and even though this book was presented in the same manor, it did seem rather simple. This could just be my personal perspective but nothing in this book was groundbreaking and I would not recommend it to the average person. Bordering of boring.
"Dry, lifeless a poor follow up, nothing new here!"
I finished this book a few days before Christmas and I find myself compelled to write this review. Having read other books by Richard I had just about forgiven him his evangelical fanaticism and righteousness because his earlier books were interesting.
The Magic Of Reality? Nothing new to report here I am afraid. It is the same old argument backed up by well researched and quite frankly rather annoying scientific facts.
Why Richard and Lalla cannot see that what they are doing is no better than religion I don't understand. It is why I don't like humanism, or the way humanists portray what they stand for.
Nobody REALLY knows what is happening on Earth and in a Science is the new God world, let's not get lost on subtly making others wrong while following a pretence of inclusion of their views in the argument.
Reality is of course magical. But there is no VERY FACT about it.
As an argument against religion, this book makes a reasonable case.
As a pro life argument, this book is boring, depressing dry and somewhat lacking in love.
If you want the nuts and bolts of it then maybe this is for you.
My investigations in life go deeper.
I thank Richard and Lalla for shedding some light on the subject, but they really are the annoying Aunt and Uncle at a dinner party who appear to think they know everything in their delivery of this subject and frankly, it wasn't very entertaining.
I actually want to get involved in some real magic now, some mythology and ritual.
Having read several books I think I have come full circle and fancy being part of a religion with a few colourful characters.
Richard Dawkins Magic Of Reality was just one shade too grey for me!
"PATRONISING LOAD OF PATRONISING rubbish"
Irritating book read as though it is for children (perhaps it is Dawkins simple and patronizing style is incredibly irritating for an adult with half a brain I would find this insulting even if I was a child it would irritate me!
he fails to communicate the magic of science chop it up Dawkins bombs out
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