Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Summer Savings Up to 25% Off Cloud Drive Photos Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Oasis Learn more Shop now Learn more
Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous series of scientific biographies of Romantic era scientists, 15 Feb. 2010
This review is from: The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science (Paperback)
Very occasionally in my life, I read a book, and have a strong impulse afterwards to seek out the author and shake him vigorously by the hand, or buy him a large pint in thanks for the heavy debt of pleasure I need to repay. This is such a book, and one where in hindsight I believe the publishers missed a trick - I would have happily paid 50 pounds, rather than 10, for the privilege of reading it.

The Age of Wonder recounts in a connected series of scientific biographies the period between around 1770 and 1830 where the fledgling sciences were intimately connected with the arts. Chemists such as Humphrey Davy were also poets, while poets such as Coleridge were also serious students of science. Culture viewed the scientist as a Byronic figure, a lone genius bravely revealing the beauty of divine nature. The idea of a professional scientist was slowly being formed in this time, and so too, perhaps, was the schism between science and art that now seems so wide.

Through a highly accomplished, direct style, Holmes argues his points carefully and convincingly. Moreover, his biographical powers are stupendous. Every main character, so honestly described, comes alive on the page. For such a long and potentially dry book, I found myself hooked from the start. I was moved, utterly fascinated, and at times in awe of the herculean effort that must have been involved in producing such an authoritative, yet readable tomb.

Although The Age of Wonder is a book about science and scientists, this is not a book to learn about science itself, though, and I'm rather surprised that it won the 2009 Royal Society Prize (it should surely have won Samuel Johnson Prize, if it wasn't such a strong year). It's clear that Holmes is no scientist, and if there is any weakness at all to the book, it is Holmes' description of some of the scientific principles at work, and his lack of knowledge on the relative import of each discovery. Instead, he centres on the characters, and the scientific atmosphere of the time, and to anyone remotely interested in science or the romantic period, this is a huge achievement and a fabulous book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]