6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Quite simply, the best mathematics book I've ever read..., 12 Feb 2005
...if not the best book I've ever read!
Robin Wilson does an amazing job at describing the history of the four-colour theorem, from conception, through various attempts at proving it, past a few failed proofs (including Kempe's proof - which was only shown as defective over ten years after he published it), and onto Appel and Haken's proof. The thing that makes this book stand out from so many other 'light reading' mathematics books is the balance between biographical information and mathematics (the interesting stuff!). I would say that the majority of the book is maths-based, and the biographical content tends to be kept relevant to the 'storyline'.
You'll definitely want to be at least a little mathematically minded if you're going to enjoy this book - but, before long, you'll find it very easy to at least prove that five colours suffice... :)