Customer Review

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good holiday reading, 30 May 2004
This review is from: Foucault's Pendulum (Paperback)
I agree wholeheartedly with the reviewer below who identifies Eco as being an acquired taste. Prima facie, the book is heavy going but the reader's patience is rewarded with an intoxicating amount of fascinating information - nay - enlightenment. The book follows Eco's trademark style of writing intelligently and entertainingly.
It would not benefit the reader of this review if I attempted to summarise Eco's literary accomplishments in "Foucault's Pendulum", in fact it would be a disservice; instead, suffice to say that the subject matter the book is concerned with (Templars, numerology, Mein Kampf, Galileo, Stonehenge, connections between cross temporal events) is in itself absorbing and add to that, Eco's unique and simply wonderful storytelling technique, the reader is in for a genuinely enthralling experience - I will not be surprised if this book finds its way onto the reading lists of students of the social and political sciences. It is by no means reserved for the conspiratorially inclined amongst us. In telling the story of three book editors' search for the truth, Eco packs in a tremendous amount of intricate detail on a number of subjects. The Sunday Times described the book as "...encompassing everything you ever wanted to know about practically anything...", this statement is not as absurd as it may sound. Eco's learned accounts that follows every diversion in the book (and there are numerous) are guaranteed to leave you feeling fulfilled once you have completed the book.
I successfully finished the book on my second attempt. Failure the first time around is attributable to attempting to keep pace with and investigate every single new revelation the book made. By the time I had made a dent in the book, several weeks had passed and I had finished three other books and visited numerous websites and also a Templar church in the Strand area. This was all in the course of reading the first 200 pages. At the beginning, I was compelled to refresh my understanding of the differential equations which govern the motion of a pendulum (Simple Harmonic Motion) and then wished I had kept the cobwebs off the Latin learned at school - knowing a bit of Hebrew will not go amiss either, the German quotes were easy to lookup. If it piques the reader's curiosity, they may wish to independently investigate aspects of this book further. This, however tempting, does slow one down but is worth it, the information picked up along the way will make for good story telling around a fire.
The key is to keep the pages turning and it will not be long before this becomes an effortless process. If you are a lawyer, charge the time you spend reading this to "knowledge management" or "general development". I might read it again, I suspect it's a bit like the God Father parts I & II - certain to notice things that I missed the first time around.
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