Andrew Robinson did a great job in trying to make an elephant palatable to a garter snake; unfortunately, unless you're a polymath yourself, you're no...moreAndrew Robinson did a great job in trying to make an elephant palatable to a garter snake; unfortunately, unless you're a polymath yourself, you're not going to *get* the whole book.
This is also a very dry book, but, seriously, it's incredibly difficult to make physics sexy. Not to mention the task of condensing the huge scope of Young's knowledge into 239 pages.
Robinson did answer the primary question I had before reading the book: If Thomas Young was so brilliant, than why wasn't he as famous as Einstein or Leonardo Di Vinci?
The answer seems to have been: Because Young had a naive belief that his fellow scholars held the same moral codes as himself (ie: that one should be more interested in advancing knowledge for all rather than personal glory), he had a tendency to be easily distracted from subject to subject (Young admitted that his own ambition lay always more in the direction of "acute suggestion" than "experimental illustration") and his public lectures seemed to have been drier than dust.
That having been said, Thomas Young was *brilliant*. The sheer scope of his curiosity, knowledge, and intuitive genius over dozens of fields (His article contributions to the Encyclopaedia Britannica were the following subjects: alphabet, annuities, capillary action, cohesion, color, dew, Egypt, eye, focus, friction, halo, hieroglyphic, hydraulics, motion, resistance, ship, sound, strength, tides, and waves. Not only that, but he contributed numerous biographies of scientists and mathematicians to the Encyclopaedia as well) makes a coherent biography for the layman almost impossible.
I freely admit to skimming through Chapters 5 and 7 (Young's breakthroughs in light and visions are simply too technical for me to understand), and focusing more on the chapters on hieroglyphics and Young's personal life.
And if you parse out the technical aspects of the book, this is a fascinating look into the world of academia, the preference of broad curiosity vs. narrow specialization in subject fields, and how much medicine and physics has evolved since the 1700s.
This is one of those books that I plan to re-read every couple of years or so; as my personal knowledge grows, I hope to be able to understand Young's brilliance that much more. (less)
This book is a hypothesis of the fate of Edward V and his brother Richard, who were 10 and 12 when they were shepherded into the Tower of London and n...moreThis book is a hypothesis of the fate of Edward V and his brother Richard, who were 10 and 12 when they were shepherded into the Tower of London and never seen alive again.
Did their uncle, Richard III, have them killed? Was it Henry VII? Alison Weir's book is a thorough, well-researched body of evidence that definitely points to one person.
The book was scholar-dry to read, but you can't argue the research and objectivity behind it. Weir takes extreme pains to gauge the veracity of sources quoted, and doesn't hesitate to mark sources as opinions if she isn't satisfied that they meet her criteria for facts.
If you're interested in 13th century British history, the War of the Roses, or the history behind Shakespeare's "Richard III", I recommend this book!
Note: The typeface in this edition was *extremely* difficult to parse through. It was in a font more archaic than Times New Roman, and made the book difficult to read visually. When you have a book that's dry in tone, the typeface seemed to add an unnecessary layer of difficulty in trying to finish the book.(less)