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Customer Review

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for the general reader interested in probability, 17 Nov. 2011
This review is from: The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy (Hardcover)
This is an excellent history of the development and application of Bayes' Theorem. Intended for the general reader with an interest in probability and the history of science, it is clearly written with a minimum of mathematics, and covers the ground efficiently.

It is particularly interesting for what it reveals of the way in which new ideas become part of intellectual discourse; in this case, by enduring a long period of suspicion and neglect before being rescued by the enthusiasm of practitioners rather than theorists. McGrayne offers many sidelights on the clandestine uses made of Bayes by the military and the intelligence community, which go some way to explaining why the power of these techniques was so long in receiving acknowledgement. The powerful personalities of the people involved receive extensive attention: no reader will come away from this book in ignorance of the degree to which accidents of institutional history and personal character condition the intellectual environment. Recommended.
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