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The Night Is Large: Collected Essays, 1938-1995

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  151 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
In The Night Is Large, Martin Gardner has assembled forty-seven challenging and inquisitive essays into a work that places him at the heart of twentieth-century American intellectual culture. Delving into an immense range of topics, from philosophy and literature to social criticism to mathematics and science, with essays that date from 1930s to the 1990s, Martin Gardner h ...more
Paperback, 586 pages
Published July 15th 1997 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 1996)
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Jun 10, 2010 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I'm ashamed to admit that, although I've had this book for years, it took Martin Gardner's recent death to get me to read it. If I'd taken the trouble even to scan the table of contents I would have recognized the impressive scope of the essays in this collection. I had always thought of Martin Gardner as a mathematician - a characterization that manages to be both severely reductive and inaccurate (he did not have formal training in mathematics).

The 47 essays in this excellent collection show G
A great collection of essays on a vast number of topics by one of the most underrated American intellectual figures. His writings on Stephen Hawking, Mathematics, Lewis Carroll, Coleridge and other topics are second-to-none. Gardner was the closest equivalent in our era to the great Robert G. Ingersoll and this collection is a wonderful sampler of a great and prolific writer.
Jul 08, 2007 Elizabeth is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
my dad keeps wanting me to read this, we'll see.
Feb 05, 2011 Robert rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone.
Finished the book. Below is an early entry. More later. This is a very fine book, a cross section of Gardner's writing about scientific, cultural, philosophical and religious topics but very little along the lines of the mathematical games or recreational mathematics that is possibly best known for, there is only one essay in that area concerning Dr. Apollomax, student of Bourbaki (that is a hint), that contains a very tricky puzzle and a few apparent paradoxes. In addition, there is one essay t ...more
Moshe Zioni
Jun 27, 2010 Moshe Zioni rated it it was amazing
Gardner is a skeptic - and he is going the whole nine yards with his scrutinization and objective perspectives on, well, pretty much anything. His wide areas of knowledge are amazing, his research is remarkable and over-all he did a very good job in offering his findings to a layman as myself and still constantly - to be interesting and manages to keep me interested throughout the process - on every topic in the book - Physical science, Mathematics, Social Sciences, Religion, Philosophy, The Art ...more
Thomas A Wiebe
Martin Gardner, thanks for many hours of delight. Martin Gardner was a serious thinker and polymath, most famous for his mathematical puzzles and his Annotated Alice, and less well known for his excellent essays and expositions on science, mathematics, philosophy and even poetry. This collection of 47 broad-ranging essays spans physical science, mathematics, social science, the arts, philosophy and religion, and pseudo-science; all of these were written over a period of 57 years. Gardner was a ...more
Douglas Dalrymple
Jun 13, 2012 Douglas Dalrymple rated it really liked it
Among “science writers” there are none I enjoy more than Martin Gardner and Stephen Jay Gould. Gardner, who died in 2010, was a generalist, a sort of latter-day Renaissance man who could speak intelligently on mathematics, physics, economics, philosophy, literature, etc. He was not as good an essayist as Gould, nor as deep (probably) in any single field, but reading him one is stirred to a sense of camaraderie and shared adventure. Gardner doesn’t lecture, he communicates. Among the things he co ...more
Sep 07, 2015 Troy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A good collection of essays over an enormous span of time, at least to this reader, and on an equally enormous variety of subject matter, showing the author a true polymath.

I found Gardner's intellectual honesty regarding his theistic views refreshing, neither claiming rational nor evidential justification for them, but a purely emotional turn of the will.

I recommend this book for its numerous looks inside the mind and views of one of the founding figures of modern skepticism, whose name stands
Oct 16, 2015 Richard marked it as to-read-3rd  ·  review of another edition
(Read somewhere that he had something to say about the weak anthropic principle.)
Tom Holt
Dec 15, 2009 Tom Holt rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
The Night Is Large: Collected Essays, 1938-1995 by Martin Gardner (1997)
Erik Duval
Dec 26, 2010 Erik Duval rated it it was amazing
Smart and superbly written...
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Martin Gardner was an American mathematics and science writer specializing in recreational mathematics, but with interests encompassing micromagic, stage magic, literature (especially the writings of Lewis Carroll), philosophy, scientific skepticism, and religion. He wrote the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American from 1956 to 1981, and published over 70 books.
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