Obsessed with creating a map that would showcase his discovery, Smith spent the next twenty years traveling England alone, studying rock outcroppings and gathering information. In 1815, he published a hand-painted map more than eight feet tall and six feet wide. But four years later, swindled out of his profits, Smith ended up in debtors' prison. His wife went mad. He lived as a homeless man for ten long years.
Eventually a kindly aristocrat discovered him; Smith, the quiet genius and 'father of geology' was brought back to London and showered with the honors that he rightly deserved. Here now is his astounding story.
©2001 Simon Winchester; (P)2003 HarperCollinsPublishers, Inc.
"Winchester is a fine stylist who also has a fine, clear reading voice. He fully engages listeners, not only with the excitement of Smith's life and work, but even with geological explications that would have been pretty dull in science class." (Publishers Weekly)
"It's an authoritative delivery and an enjoyable experience." (AudioFile)
"This is just the kind of creative nonfiction that elevates a seemingly arcane topic into popular fare." (Booklist)
"Winchester brings Smith's struggle to life in clear and beautiful language." (The New York Times Book Review)
If you hope to learn anything about geology or scientific method, this is not the book for you. This book limits itself to the life and trials of William Smith, and delivers its message in a dry, 3rd person list of events. Even the "map" and Smith's innovations in developing it, are mentioned only in generalities, with no little discussion of how they were developed or the context of science at the time. Very disappointing.
Loved it! Surprisingly it made the somewhat dry topic of geology into a fascinating story...perhaps should be used in schools.Might stimulate much conversation about origin of the earth as well as ethics and human relations as well as class expectations and relations. Excellent!
I really enjoyed this book but it was very dry and gets down right boring at times but the story is worth the trouble to listen to if you have any interest in maps.
Down to earth real life story about a human being including their highest and lowest points. It does sit the reader down in a real life story easy to relate to.
Hearing about a mans struggle to be accepted
Dreadful monotone monotonous
I've now listened to 2 books orated by this author and for me, even though the writing is good, the oration is so monotonous that this will be my last purchase of this orator and that is a shame. Good author does not make a good author. And, the book skips around in time a lot. Still, even though I won't buy another by this orator, I don't regret the purchase.
Like the other books from Simon Winchester this book is pleasant, not least because the author reads his books himself. Even though this is a narrative rather than a scientific book I wish he would switch to the metric system instead of referring to feet, inches, pounds and ounces. As a science author he should not support the obsolete empirical system. Today only the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar continue to not use the metric system.
I read the paper version of this book. It is a fascinating account of how one man persevered to change the world's view of geology. If you like geology and the history of science, this is time well spent. I gave it a three since my experience was with the paper version.
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