EmmaLee Pryor's Reviews > Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love

Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel
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's review
Jul 01, 2011

liked it

This is a tricky book because it is really more about Galileo and his trials with the Catholic church and his science/philosophizing about physics and astronomy than his relationship with his daughter. The fact that none of his letters to her survived make it hard to show what kind of father he was but reading this book you know that he did love and value her, possibly above any other person in his life. It was hard to let go of my cultural constructs about putting his daughters' in a convent because it sounded like something you would do to someone you really didn't like. The book was not very passionate or emotional, except during the description of the trial and what happened when Galileo was moved to his tomb. I am glad I read it and felt it was interesting subject matter.......for someone who was interested in knowing different things than I did. Maybe because so much of my life is tied up with my 4 kids that his relationships with others and his children and nieces and nephews were more interesting to me than his relationships with various religious people (although those were quite useful and in the end showed who his true friends were). For example he had his widowed sister-in-law and her youngest three children come to stay with him and they all died in one summer. So I would have liked to know his reaction to that. And given how much correspondence he had I am sure he mentioned it somewhere. But maybe he really was just that cerebral and was so much in his head that he didn't relate to people as well or something. I wondered if he ever regretted placing his daughters in a convent. And it wasn't fully explained why that was the only thing to be done. She seemed like she would have been happy to travel around with him and take care of him. So why did he do it? I really liked that he could be a man of faith AND science.

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