97th out of 113 books — 7 voters
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A Life of Sir Francis Galton: From African Exploration to the Birth of Eugenics
Few scientists have made lasting contributions to as many fields as Francis Galton. He was an important African explorer, travel writer, and geographer. He was the meteorologist who discovered the anticyclone, a pioneer in using fingerprints to identify individuals, the inventor of regression and correlation analysis in statistics, and the founder of the eugenics movement. ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by Clarendon Press
(first published January 1st 2001)
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An engaging biography of Francis Galton, heavy with the many amusing Galton anecdotes we all know (a sober analysis of the inefficacy of prayer which drew furious attack; recording people fidgeting during lectures or average attractiveness of women on the street; constructing devices to keep himself awake). Gillham devotes much space to Galton's youthful travels and African expedition and to his fingerprinting work, less to the weather mapping, but that's reasonable inasmuch as those are the mos ...more
this was quite good for what it was. galton did so many amazing things - it is crazy that he is mainly known as the father of eugenics. if someone accomplished just one of the plethora of things he did in his lifetime, i'd consider them successful. It was a very interesting read, but heavy on the dates and name dropping.