Buy Used
£0.01
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ships from the UK. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Your purchase also supports literacy charities.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Tour of the Calculus Hardcover – 25 Mar 1996

2.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Hardcover, 25 Mar 1996
£114.36 £0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
£4.99

Man Booker International Prize 2017
A Horse Walks Into a Bar has won the Man Booker International Prize 2017. Learn more
click to open popover

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd (25 Mar. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434098442
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434098446
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 3.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,922,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?

Product description

From the Inside Flap

Were it not for the calculus, mathematicians would have no way to describe the acceleration of a motorcycle or the effect of gravity on thrown balls and distant planets, or to prove that a man could cross a room and eventually touch the opposite wall. Just how calculus makes these things possible and in doing so finds a correspondence between real numbers and the real world is the subject of this dazzling book by a writer of extraordinary clarity and stylistic brio. Even as he initiates us into the mysteries of real numbers, functions, and limits, Berlinski explores the furthest implications of his subject, revealing how the calculus reconciles the precision of numbers with the fluidity of the changing universe.


"An odd and tantalizing book by a writer who takes immense pleasure in this great mathematical tool, and tries to create it in others."--New York Times Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

David Berlinksiwas born in New York City. He received a B.A. degree from Columbia College and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. He has taught mathematics and philosophy at universities in the United States and France." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Berlinski has clearly decided that he wants to avoid the stereotypical mathematical tradition that has texts be as terse as possible. He has erred too far in the other direction. Good science writing doesn't need to imagine Leibniz groping serving maids. It doesn't need to invent overly elaborate language and metaphors.
At least the technical stuff is basically good. I liked his description of what continuous-ness is all about, and the (presumably fictionalised) accounts of teaching the material to small classes are quite entertaining.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This book goes well into the mental rigour of the calculus and hence shows the thorough underlieing logic and mental disciplin of its developement and useage. However, the author can occasionally be overelaborate in his language and story-telling. This sometimes makes the book seem like a novel. However there are some good appendixes containing mathematical proofs which contain more mathematics than linguistic flair. An interesting read for the pre A level student or the first year a level student really.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The two stars are for the technical content, which is basically sound. But I can't give any stars for Berlinski's writing style. It's as though he's trying (far too hard) to write a classic novel with some maths in it. The idea of conveying some fairly complex maths by using flowery, descriptive, even evocative language is in principle an interesting one, but the prose is so purple as to make it hard to make out what point he's trying to make, and in many places obscures the meaning completely. If you want to read purple prose, try Tolstoy. If you want to understand calculus, try the Open University. Either way, don't bother with this book.
1 Comment 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The point of this book, like another by Berlinski (One, Two, Three) is overwhelmed by his unnecessary, floridly descriptive narratives and pointless references to his supernatural beliefs. It's a ramble. If you want to learn about maths, read De Sautoy et al.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars 166 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, giving an overview of the concepts and ... 16 May 2017
By Jeremy P. Carlo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book, giving an overview of the concepts and ideas behind the calculus, without getting bogged down in computational details. A great companion to a standard calculus text, to provide easy reading regarding concepts such as limits, the real number line, and the physical meanings of differentiation and integration.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic intuitive introduction to Calculus 22 Oct. 2008
By Mel Beckman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My friend Alexander recommended this book to me in passing one day, so I ordered it and promptly forgot about it. The package arrived and sat on my desk for a week before I had time to open it. I started reading. And reading. And reading. It's hard to believe that a math book can be a page turner, but David Berlinski has accomplished that feat.

This won't make you an expert in calculus. It's a tour, as the title says, not an in-depth course. However, Berlinski does a wonderful job of making the material continuously engaging by interweaving history, practical application, and theory. He starts with an excellent ground rule: prove no theorems. You must take everything he says on faith (but you can switch to a calculus textbook any time if your faith wavers ;). That brush-clearing maneuver gets the reader out of the mess of mathematical rigor, revealing the beauty of calculus.

Although I studied calculus years ago, this was a great reminder of the fundamentals. I also learned a great deal about the people behind The Calculus -- Newton, Leibnitz, et al -- that I never knew before. A great gift book for your intelligentsia friends.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy Weird Author.. Fun Book 10 April 2014
By I'll swallow your soul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author is off his rocker but seriously the guy helped me make sense of Calculus I. Not only did I learn how to take derivatives and limits and find areas but this book explained why I was doing. If you're looking to know more about the subject than just how to do calc problems, this is a pretty good book to start with.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tour of the Calculus, by David Berlinski 31 Dec. 2011
By RPWooten - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is highly readable and very enjoyable. This is astonishing considering the subject matter, the calculus. Berlinski is witty, writes extremely well, and is great at explaining highly abstract concepts. It's a good introduction!
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful inflight to the real math 18 Aug. 2000
By Rene Gastelumendi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Berlinski book has made me see, through a powerful pedagogical lens, that most mathematics books, Calculus in particular, are a distilled and purified product of a brew made from the blood, sweat and tears of many mathematicians across the centuries. The next time I pick up a textbook and read "it easily follows" or " it is clearly evident", I'll know for sure that those words are, at least, presumptuous.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know