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Before Galileo: The Birth of Modern Science in Medieval Europe
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Before Galileo: The Birth of Modern Science in Medieval Europe

3.07  ·  Rating details ·  68 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Histories of modern science often begin with the heroic battle between Galileo and the Catholic Church, which ignited the Scientific Revolution and gave way to the world-changing discoveries of Isaac Newton. Virtually nothing is said about the European scholars who came before. In reality, more than a millennium before the Renaissance, a succession of scholars paved the wa ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by The Overlook Press (first published August 30th 2012)
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Bethany
Apr 25, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The topic is interesting... the writing was not.
Steve
Nov 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am not generally inclined to writing negative reviews, but this book is so disappointing that I feel compelled to comment on it. This is just the kind of book that is most likely to elicit a critical review from me. It had potential that was squandered, rather than being simply dreadful.

What makes this a disappointing book is that it is almost entirely a chronological account of persons and their ideas on physics, mathematics, astronomy, and cosmology between ancient times and the "Scientific
...more
Chris Aaron
Full of important information, people and events but the pacing and structure was very hard to follow. Might be better appreciated if you're already well-educated on early science and can keep up.
Perry Clark
Freely's presentation of the history of scientific thought starts as a dry recitation of factual tidbits, occasionally of interest, but as often simply dry. As he progresses forward through the medieval period, Freely gradually picks up steam until, finally, we find glimmerings of life in the story, especially from about Albertus Magnus onward. Freely covers more ground, and more characters, than one would expect in a modest-length book on the subject, and not always to our benefit. It often com ...more
Heather
There was a vast amount of interesting tidbits in this book. This book made me think a lot and made me bore my children with a lot of questions to David (my husband) on his thoughts on such matters.

It's too bad it was presented in such a dry, list-driven style. The editing was very bad - so bad that even I noticed it, and I am not usually keyed in to such things.

I am sure the author is an absolutely fascinating person to have a conversation with. The book is, I will admit, quite difficult to get
...more
Kathleen
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Freely provides an in depth historical review of science and the advent of scientific reasoning from the Greek thought, much of which was lost with the demise of the Roman Empire and the burning of the library in Alexandria, to to Galileo and Isaac Newton. At first its a bit descriptive, but the plot thickens with Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton. Their genius, bent for experimentation, battle with conventional thought and run ins with the Catholic Church make this an exciting story. ...more
Ray Gates
Although I enjoyed this book on the whole, it could have been so much better. I agree with most of the criticisms listed by 'Steve'. The book seems to have been rushed. It could use maps to illustrate the places referenced, and charts to cross-reference the events happening in parallel, and better editing to fix the typos and remove repetition. The book requires effort, but has a mountain of information buried in it.
Drew Swearingen
Good read, just glad I didn't ave to read it out loud.
Ruth Feathers
Feb 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More of a meta study of the history of science, with in-depth looks at some Christian early scientists, but nothing from Asia and just a little from the middle east.
Lynn
Sep 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
I couldn't finish it. The prose was so disjointed and stilted I had to stop.
Jelly Fish
ideas are not well-connected. writing is uninteresting. typos and mis-spellings of names reveal a lack of thorough research in some areas.
Clare Cannon
Oct 24, 2012 marked it as goodreadingguide-com  ·  review of another edition
HS to review @ www.GoodReadingGuide.com
Emma
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Fascinating topic, and very interesting, but it's just so poorly written that it's very distracting - and even more poorly edited.
Kevin Morrison
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Anaksimandros
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George
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Goodreads Librari...: Incorrect author 3 15 Dec 27, 2015 04:53AM  
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John Freely was born in 1926 in Brooklyn, New York to Irish immigrant parents, and spent half of his early childhood in Ireland. He dropped out of high school when he was 17 to join the U. S. Navy, serving for two years, including combat duty with a commando unit in the Pacific, India, Burma and China during the last year of World War II. After the war, he went to college on the G. I. Bill and eve ...more
More about John Freely