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on 2 May 2007
This edition is just lovely, beautifully bound with a great cover. its a pleasure to hold and carry around. The story of Caroline Hereschel's life is certainly an interesting one. It was so varied and anyone with an interest in the history of science cannot fail to be drawn into her struggle for recognition.

Perhaps because I read the story through 21st century eyes, I found her constant subjugation of her own ambitions frustrating. Why didnt she scream and shout and stamp her foot to get the attention and time she deserved? The story is as much a comment on the times she lived in, as it is a history of her life. Reading other books of the period it is often easy to forget how stiffling life was for a young woman, expecially one with any talent and it does Ms Hereschel credit that she managed to over come the restrictions of both her class and her culture to become so well recognised.

My only complaint about the book was that the writing was a bit dry. I get the feeling that it was adapted from somes ones university thesis or from an academic paper, which is surprising as the author has previously won awards for her science writing. That said, the writing is very clear and there is no over whelming scientific detail (maybe that is what, as a scientist, I missed!). I would have liked to have learnt more about the science Ms Hereschel did and its contribution to what was going on in science at the time.

An enjoyable if slightly single faceted book, but definetly one that will look lovely on your book shelf!
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on 17 June 2007
I found this rather dry to read, and as the previous reviewer suggests the science itself is a bit lacking. Nevertheless, it is good to see the life and contribution of Caroline Herschel recognised.
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on 6 July 2007
This is the best biography of Caroline Herschel available, and the whole story is nicely told. It is a delightful read. However, in terms of scholarship, the book is disturbingly weak on the scientific background to the achievements of the Herschels. We learn little about what other astronomers in England and France are up to, and nothing about the major intellectual puzzles of the time. The author does not tell us how deeply important William Herschel's surveys were for establishing survey astronomy as the wave of the future. Despite these criticisms I recommend this short account. Importantly, Claire Brock shows that Caroline Herschel was much more than a mere note taker for her elder brother.
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on 26 September 2010
After reading Richard Holmes's 'Age of Wonder' I was determined to find out more about Caroline Herschel. An early pioneer in the world of Female Scientists who seems to have started her own biography after she returned to Hanover and who was a fairly prolific letter writer to her more famous brother's son John Herschel.

So, after buying this book I am feeling quite let down. There is little in here that was not covered in the Age of Wonder and quite a lot that seems to be left out. There is little mention of her relationship with her nephew, although that appears to be key in her finally receiving recognition for her individual achievements. Indeed, there is little mention of her brother, despite the years they spent working together. The chapter about her early life is quite dull, it almost appears to have been padded out with details about the Hanoverian schooling system due to a lack of anything else to put in. The author also has the annoying habit of referring to her as 'Herschel' which left me feeling more distant from her, but also slightly confused as to whether we were discussing Caroline or one of her many brothers that make appearances through the book.

Whilst it would not be surprising that Caroline felt slightly aggrieved at her treatment by her family and the scientific community, I finished this book thinking that she had spent most of her time complaining and whining - I am sure that is not how it was for her entire life. The author also seems to indicate that William Herschel stopped Caroline from pursuing her own career, and generally got in the way, but other comments about his purchase of a business for Caroline and his promotion of her as a singer, a career she chose not to pursue, seem to contradict this impression of an overbearing and selfish brother.

In summary, a poor biography, as other reviewers have pointed out, there is no science in the book and by the end I actually disliked Caroline Herschel - not what I expected when I bought the book. I would not recommend this book to anyone and would refer them to the much better Age of Wonder. It was so disappointing that I am not even going to lend this to my mother-in-law.
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on 22 July 2014
I really enjoyed this. Lots of info about the work she did and the difficulties she experienced being a woman at that time.
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on 31 August 2014
the book arrived on time as agreed. It's a great story.
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