In this original, sweeping, and intimate biography, Gleick moves between a comprehensive historical portrait and a dramatic focus on Newton's significant letters and unpublished notebooks to illuminate the real importance of his work in physics, in optics, and in calculus. He makes us see the old intuitive, alchemical universe out of which Newton's mathematics first arose and shows us how Newton's ideas have altered all forms of understanding from history to philosophy. And he gives us a moving account of the conflicting impulses that pulled at this man's heart: his quiet longings, his rage, his secrecy, the extraordinary subtleties of a personality that were mirrored in the invisible forces he first identified as the building blocks of science. More than biography, more than history, more than science, Isaac Newton tells us how, through the mind of one man, we have come to know our place in the cosmos.
©2003 James Gleick; (P)2003 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
"Gleick renders a wonderful impression of the icon's mind." (Booklist)
"Allan Corduner's narration is a pleasure to listen to." (AudioFile)
"The extraordinary breadth of Newton's interests is brilliantly delineated by Gleick. Newton the man emerges from the shadows." (The New York Times Book Review)
I am a fan of Gleick's work and of science writing in general, but this book is, unfortunately, a fumble. Newton the man is quite fascinating but rather than explicating on his personality Gleick elects to focus on a few interminable intellectual grudges that the godfather of physics held against his contemporaries. It becomes a real yawn after an hour, and then by hour three I was heavily regretting having downloaded this horrible, horrible book. How can someone make such an interesting topic so dull? If you are a fan of Chaos or Genius, Gleick's two best titles, know that you will get none of the rich weave of characters, history, and incisive explanations of scientific discoveries and their significance that you may have come to expect. Pass on this and download Bill Bryson's a Short History of Nearly Everything instead. You'll learn more about Newton that way, and get more bang for your buck.
I do not agree with the previous reviewers. The author brought the personality and presence of Newton out in the only way one could--through meticulous research. The confllicts between Newton and Hook, and the descriptions of a man viewing the world in ways none before him could were very facinating and I listened to the book twice to hear the story again. If you are interested in genius and particularly mathematics and physics and how a great man of learning dealt with his genius in his own time, you will enjoy this book.
I will say that I have not read the author's other works, so I can't compare to them. But if they are better as the previous reviewers have indicated then I'm going to give them a listen also.
Computer Programmer and Worship Leader. Have enjoyed reading since my mom got me hooked on Nancy Drew and Agatha Christie prior to my teen years. My brother got me hooked on audio books after I started having a longer commute to work. Love a variety of genres.
I must agree with "ironhands" - this is a horrible book. I couldn't make it to the end of the second disk before I gave up. Only the second audiobook out of nearly 80 that I have not finished once I started.
The book seems disjointed with very little concept of flow. What should have been a fascinating book on a fascinating man was a real disappointment. There is more coherent information on Newton in many other books by audible ("The Fabric of the Cosmos" for example).
A real lost opportunity.
After reading so many myths about the man behind the legend, this was very refreshing. Newton is revealed for the first time with all of his flaws and a more indepth look at his real accomplishments. The book is well written and shows the level of research that was involved. Having established an negative outlook on the scintific value of Newton's discoveries, this volume has restored some of the merits of just how remarkable of a personage as he was.
An excellent read. Concise, sympathetic, and interesting. Well researched and presented. I thoroughly enjoyed the narration. I will be listening to this book again. Five stars from me.
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