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45 Reviews
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting read
I must say I really enjoyed this book. I don't know very much about Dawkins, other than the fact that he's a prominent scientist and has outspoken views on religion but this first half of his autobiography was very interesting, much more so than the 'celebrity' autobiographies that clutter up our high street book stores.

The book takes you through a bit of...
Published 4 months ago by Dill

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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Much better than Private Eye said
Private Eye did a hatchet job on this book and they were being completely unfair. It's not a masterpiece but it's still a good read.

They criticised Dawkins for being arrogant but I don't see it: he strikes me as the opposite here, often expressing sentiments like `I didn't deserve it', or `I should have worked harder'. OF COURSE there's going to be a few...
Published 14 months ago by Charles


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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars science lives, 9 Dec 2013
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This review is from: An Appetite For Wonder: The Making of a Scientist (Kindle Edition)
excellent purchase; it kept me gripped from end to end; I find the subject fascinating; well done Richard for this
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Evangelical Atheist!, 18 Sep 2013
By 
Samuel Romilly (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Oh dear, just as I expected. The Great Dawkins came from a Christian family. This explains his evangelical obsession with religion. He has yet to learn that shopping centres open on Sunday are far more of a threat to religious belief than his denunciations. Ignore religion and it fizzles out. Condemn it or even persecute it and it thrives. Elementary one might think. But too subtle for this zealot. The trouble with this book is that the author depicts himself as a such a bumptious prig that it may prove a recruiting drive for religion. If such a man as this is opposed to it perhaps there is some truth in it after all.

I do not think that the vituperation of a mediocre scientist (as he was once described to me by an Oxford professor of science - though not a Balliol man so probably not relevant)is likely to bring about the collapse of Christianity let alone of any other faith. He too can be guilty of bad faith, sloppy research and intellectual dishonesty the sort of criticisms he so often levels at the religious. A few years ago on a documentary around the premise of non religious altruism he visited the 999 club for the homeless and needy of Deptford as an example. When a friend of mine wrote to him pointing out that the 999 Club was founded by two members of St Paul's Church (one of whom he interviewed in the program!) in honour and imitation of the work of the late Father Diamond the celebrated local priest, that two clergymen were among it trustees, and the Archbishop of Canterbury was its patron) he of course got no reply. Need I say more. It does not seem to have occurred to Prof Dawkins that one can speak of one's good works in the community without even mentioning God and yet being motivated at least I part by religious faith. This is a nuance and subtlety beyond the ken of this author. This autobiography shows why. Don't waste your money. Even the Bible is a better buy. At least it is a classic, and in the authorised version, a great work of English Literature.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Makes David Cameron Sound Like A Geordie Shore Cast Member, 7 July 2014
This is a brilliant book if you are dead into lineage, or colonialism, or just good old-fashioned elitism. I for one though am not, and therefore I found this book just boring. I will say now that I am a great fan of Dawkins' work and believe him to be a fantastic and important writer in some respects, but this autobiographer is easily the worst thing I have known him to write. Whilst it is clear that the writer has had a fascinating life (with his colonial/empire heavy upbringing etc), I found the way he tells the story of his life is filled with the presumption that every reader is as familiar with 'high culture' as he is himself. On top of this there is an ever-present tone of "I was so utterly fantastic as a child that I used to do things like this" followed by "I was so utterly revolutionary in my ways that everybody must have thought this of me".
This book does have some redeeming qualities, but overall it is smug, self-aggrandising and sometimes just excruciatingly boring. To be avoided.
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19 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully written, 12 Sep 2013
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I've had the chance to read most of Richard Dawkins' books. This one is among my favourites of those, and with it being a memoir, easier to read than the sometimes more challenging pieces describing the mechanics of biological evolution, of which I started out as just a layman trying to understand more on the subject.

One of my favourite parts is when Richard's musing about the way his character as a person and student has developed over time since his childhood. The way it's often considered that 'the child is the father of the man' - put into a way I've never heard expressed before. I had intended to read it over several days, but once I started reading it was difficult to stop.

Definitely a book I'd recommend - especially so for fans of Richard's work, both on his religious thoughts, and how his interest in evolution by natural selection came to fruition. Also for those just curious about the man himself and how he came to be who he is today - well up to his mid 30s. This book follows him from infancy to the publication of 'The Selfish Gene'. The second part of the memoir is due to come out in 2015, and I look forward to owning a copy.
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dawkins by natural selection, 20 Sep 2013
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I have read all of Richard Dawkins's books and have found them a revelation. Each one has been carefully thought through and empirical proof set out in such a way as to allow anyone to check his findings. Many have tried to undermine the facts portrayed, yet this is always an irrational attack ignoring reality and tending to attack the man, who remains and easy yet impregnable target. The facts stand regardless of authoritarian rhetoric and hyperbole.

'An Appetite for Wonder' is a Memoir and will allow small minded religious non-entities to attack his personal upbringing (I have yet to see any sigs of kindness from religeous types) such is the way with these silly people, but it gave me a chance to see how a great mind evolves. And evolve it did. Do not expect prose coloured by artistic licence - Dawkins is a man with a logical mind. Instead expect an echo of Empire in his early days and a very honest explanation of how he felt as a child, a very difficult thing to write openly about, giving a brief glimpse into the maturing of a mind from infancy to adulthood. He gives a child's explanation of his religious beliefs when young (religious belief always remains childlike) and the growing realisation that it made little sense to what is real. Answers were sought to questions which faith ignored.

Yet this is not just a book about the development of the greatest thinking mind of the present century yet. It is interwoven amongst farms, schools, an unabashedly happy childhood and an adolescence which is looked back on with slight embarrasment. This is the thing with Dawkins - his perceived arrogence is not real; his logic may make him seem that way, but there are times when a huge intellect finds it hard to appreciate the rate of perception of slighly slower minds. It struck me through the final chapters of this first volume that he is a gentle man. His own intellect surprises him at times yet he uses it to make, or break, hypothosies regardless of the outcome. The fire in his belly is obvous as these last few chapters are full of science, set out simply enough, but still tough for a chap like me with a more industrial intellect.

Richard Dawkins did not dismiss belief in gods of any type without thought and seeking proof outside of the human brain and wishful thinking. He checked and looked at the evidence. He did not baulk from that. But that was not the driving force - showing the inanity of faith-based belief was not the agenda. Understanding was. 'The Selfish Gene' proved he has a beautiful mind - it is sublime in its explanation of Darwin. Darwin was a genius. Richard Dawkins is close, but must be well on the way as he upsets the same primitive people that the writer of the 'Origin of Species ..' managed so long agao.

This is a very honest book though not one to reveal any scandals ('not that sort of book'). Dawkins has left himself open to his critics, but only they will be horrible about it - it is all they have. For those who read Dawkins, weighed up the facts presented and learned to respect and admire him, this is a book for you. I enjoyed every page and thank him for this glimpse into his development, personal life and thought processes. He will know the guns will be out and be mildly surprised at the vitriol, but will shrug that off. Dawkins by natural selection will become a fixture in the libraries of all who think. Excellent!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Dawkins Appetite for Wonder the Making of a Scientist, 2 Feb 2014
By 
Gekko (Liverpool UK) - See all my reviews
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Fascinating autobiography, and easier reading for me than his science-based books, as my science knowledge is very limited, although they also are well written and I think they are actually at a level that most can enjoy. It is a pleasure to get an insight into the journey which led Dawkins to his eventual scientific and writing career, and this book contained some surprising facts which were unexpected but made it all the more enjoyable to read. He is a national treasure!
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent condition and delivery was very quick, 26 Aug 2014
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I bought this as a gift but my friend was delighted with the book
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 Oct 2014
By 
GLYN AO DAVIES (London UK) - See all my reviews
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Very personal, but that is forgivable for an autobiography
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2.0 out of 5 stars A bit dull compared to his other writings, 5 Aug 2014
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I'm a fan of Dawkins other books but this was rather dull.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An detailed insight, ready for everyone, 22 Nov 2013
By 
ED Farr (UK) - See all my reviews
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It is worth noting from the beginning that this "memoir" is the life story of Richard Dawkins only up to the publication of "The Selfish Gene", we will have to wait a bit longer to find out about the rest of his life and times!

From a listening perspective this is actually a very interesting autobiography, as printed text it may become quite monotonus. It is focussed primarily on his idyllic "every boys dream" childhood to his Tinbergen days and the publication of The Selfish Gene. But makes great emphasis on his magical childhood not being the reason for why he is the confirmed Atheist that we all know him as.

Some of the stories that are told within this memoir are very deep and personal and reassuringly there are no direct assaults on God, no scandal or revelation of naughtiness or indescretion. For the most part, through this memoir, Dawkins comes across as your typical "next door neighbour" who would let that cat out if you asked him to.

There were some sections of the autobiography that are explanations of his theories, theses' and principals which are done with such ease and in laymans terms, you hardly realise you have been taught them or even heard them until after the event, which makes it so accessible for everyone of any background.

This book is very detailed and very interesting and to be honest, i am looking forward to the next installment.
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