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Publisher's Summary

Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist, presents a gorgeously lucid, science book examining some of the nature’s most fundamental questions both from a mythical and scientific perspective.

Science is our most precise and powerful tool for making sense of the world. Before we developed the scientific method, we created rich mythologies to explain the unknown. The pressing questions that primitive men and women asked are the same ones we ask as children. Who was the first person? What is the sun? Why is there night and day? The myths that address these questions are beautiful, but in every case their beauty is exceeded by the scientific truth.

With characteristic clarity and verve, Dawkins answers these big questions. Looking first at some of the myths that arose to answer the question, he then, dazzles us with the facts. He looks at the building blocks of matter, the first humans, the sun - explaining the life and death of stars; why there’s a night and a day - ranging from our solar system to the inner workings of our planet; what a rainbow really is—going from the rainbow in your backyard to the age of the universe; and finally, he poses a question that still baffles scientists: When did everything begin?

©2011 Richard Dawkins, Ltd. (P)2011 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"I wanted to write this book but I wasn't clever enough. Now I've read it, I am." (Ricky Gervais)
“Exhilarating. The clearest and most beautifully written introduction to science I've ever read. Again and again I found myself saying 'Oh! So that's how genes work!' (or stars, or tectonic plates, or all the other things he explains). Explanations I thought I knew were clarified; things I never understood were made clear for the first time. My favourite adjective of praise has always been "clear", and this book has clarity all the way through.” (Philip Pullman, author of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ and the His Dark Materials trilogy)
I am often asked to recommend good books on science for young people. From now on, I will not have to hesitate. The Magic of Reality provides a beautiful, accessible and wide ranging volume that addresses the questions that all of us have about the universe, separating often too-little known facts from too-frequently believed fictions. For this reason it should be a powerful resource for people of all ages, written with the masterful and eloquently literate style of perhaps the best popular expositor of science, Richard Dawkins, and delightfully illustrated by Dave McKean. What more could anyone ask for?” (Lawrence Krauss is Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and the author most recently of Quantum Man, and A Universe from Nothing)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • wes
  • Port St Joe, FL, United States
  • 11-22-11

A great mind, not so great book.

A great mind dumbing down to an audience that hoped for, and deserved, better." The God Delusion" delivered what you would expect from one the great critical thinkers of our time.
However, if depth, piercing insight, and just the right amount of pith is what you are hoping
for here, keep moving, nothing to see here, move along. Perhaps Mr. Dawkins had a particular demographic in mind when he sat down to pen this one, I just wish there was a hint of the intent in the title. Perhaps a sub rosa line like " this is for the mouth breathers who aint real good with all them big words and ideas". After listening I very quickly removed it from my device thinking firstly I had wasted my time and money, and second, I'll never miss it. I really hope, and fully expect, that the next offering from Dawkins will be right back
back where he belongs, on the best seller's list. Don't look for this one there.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • United States
  • 11-22-11

I like it, but it's more appropriate for my child!

I admit, I've only made a third of the way through this book. I like it and I like the objective of the book, however, I wish it was written to a more educated audience. I am by no means a science buff, nevertheless, I feel this book would reasonate more with a curious teenager or younger.

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  • Adam
  • Hawaii
  • 11-11-11

Don't get this if you're already a scientist

This review is for the subset of us that are natural scientists. Have you completed Bio/Chem/Astro/Phys 101-201? Then you know everything in this book already. If you don't then I'm sure you'll find this overview of our universe fascinating (because the universe is just that!)

There were some small gaps in my knowledge that were filled in, or concepts reinforced but overall I felt like I had wasted my time. Every time Dawkins starts to gets really in depth with a topic, he either truncates the discussion because he doesn't know enough (he admits this) or it is beyond the scope of the book. Oh well....at the end of the day, can we really get enough science? No. No we can't.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great book for teenagers and ... adults, too!

Once again Richard Dawkins delivers an excellent book with his easy-to-follow and easy-to-understand style!

I highly recommend this book to everyone who wants to get a fresh scientific view on many realities in our lives. It will be highly beneficial to young adults as they need to form an objective and unbiased opinion about the world around us.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • Wake Forest, NC
  • 10-17-11

A breath of fresh air for a scientist.

Another stellar product in a rich history of books form Dr. Dawkins.

At the outset, it is a bit rudimentary, but overall an excellent read. I hope to introduce it to my grand-kids.

Kudos "again" to Richard Dawkins.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A new Myth - Dawkins could explain the ineffible!

Would you listen to The Magic of Reality again? Why?

Yes! To help my grand-children understand so much in a most delightful way.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Is it coincidence that

Have you listened to any of Richard Dawkins, and Lalla Ward’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. Their delivery is impeccable.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I pursue Truth and Beauty and within this fascinating book, I discovered both. My definition of God is that which inspires awe. The Universe is indeed awesome in the extreme!

Any additional comments?

I read this book cover to cover today, soon after buying it. It is a

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Bookworm
  • CHAPIN, SC, United States
  • 11-22-11

Review of The Magic of Reality

As an open minded Christian I felt compelled to give the world's most famous atheist a chance to make his case. And he makes a good case if you think God and Religion are the same thing. But if you are like me and think God and Religion are not only two separate things, but that they have very little in common, then all Dr. Dawkins does is confirm that Religion is nothing more than a manmade belief system, set up thousands of years ago, in an attempt by our ancestors to explain the unexplainable. Which is exactly what I believe Religion is.

But Dr, Dawkins does nothing in this book to prove that there is no such thing as God. All he does is prove that he can't prove there is or isn't a God by using the scientific method. And while he doesn't even speculate that there might be a God, he has no trouble speculating about life on other planets right down to what aliens might look like, whether or not they would have eyes and how they might communicate "if" they in fact exist. His reasoning for the existence of intelligent life on other planets is based entirely on probability theory, not the scientific method.

My overall feeling is that Dr. Dawkins is quite a bit more "religious" than he would admit, especially when it comes to his own personal brand of atheism, more so in fact than many fundamentalist believers. In other words he is just as religious in his non-belief in God as any radical believer is in the opposite. This apparent double standard makes it difficult for me to take him seriously when he tries to disprove the existence of God, simply using the argument that Religious myths and stories are easily proven redundant and impossible to prove.

In my humble opinion, Dr. Dawkins has merely carved out a niche for himself where he has cast himself as the spiritual leader of the non-believer. He does not and cannot prove whether God exists or does not exist using the scientific method, simply by laying bare the discrepancies which are abundant in all religions. I do like the fact that he narrates his own books. It's always nice to hear the author's voice in an audio book. But if the reader/listener comes to this book looking for concrete evidence that proven evolution theory, (?) also proves there is no such thing as God or any form of Higher Intelligence, you won't find that evidence here in this book. You won't find any scientific proof there is life on other planets either, but at least Dr. Dawkins will speculate on the subject, which is more than he does when it comes to God. Been here, done this, nothing new here beyond basic science based entertainment.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • CBlox
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • 07-03-12

This Christian thought it was a good

Dont be fooled by other reviews. This book is most definitely for adult listeners. While I liked this book for its science theories and evolutionary views I also noticed a great deal of mockery and sarcasim towards biblical stories and other close held befliefs of the Christian world. Many children wont be able to distinguish the two views and how both God and science can be true if they read this book.

5 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Jerry
  • Winnetka, CA, United States
  • 09-14-12

Too elementary

There was some good information here. And I wish a lot of my "god believing" friends would listen to this. But the informaiton was too elementary for me. I knew most of the material and felt like I was in a highschool science class.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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I hated the atheist under-current.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The only thing that would deter me from recommending it is its atheist ideology, which for me is unfathomable, since all the facts stated in the book actually solidify the belief in the existence of God.

What did you like best about this story?

Its eye-opening scientific facts.

Do you think The Magic of Reality needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

no

0 of 1 people found this review helpful