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Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  18,246 ratings  ·  1,741 reviews
An innovative, dramatic graphic novel about the treacherous pursuit of the foundations of mathematics.
This graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, he crosses paths with thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert & Kurt Gödel, & finds a passionate student in Ludwig Wittgenstein. But his most
Paperback, 347 pages
Published October 5th 2009 by Bloomsbury (NYC) (first published September 29th 2009)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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 ·  18,246 ratings  ·  1,741 reviews

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Dec 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sequential-art
It’s marvellous that something like Logicomix exists: a graphic novel that seeks to put the Vienna Circle on the pop-culture map deserves a special Pulitzer for chutzpah (read those last three words aloud and you’d swear you were speaking Hochdeutsch). But I sensed an uncomfortable tension here between the genuine profundity of the ideas being explored and the inescapably hammy conventions of comic-book narrative. No doubt there’s a special, tiny place in my heart for hamminess, just as there’s ...more
Riku Sayuj
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r-r-rs

This wildly ambitious graphic novel is a fictional (auto?)biography of Bertrand Russell and traces his journey from doubt to certainty and back again.

It is littered with the lofty ideas of the many giants of mathematics and philosophy throughout, but is never daunting in its subject matter or too overreaching in its objectives. A list of the co-stars might be enough to induce you to stop reading this review, so I restrain myself from indulging.

The self-referential presentation, which shows the
‘Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoan to the philosopher, and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoan, who gives us this assurance.’
—Bertrand Russell

‘Logic! Good gracious! What rubbish! How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?’
—EM Forster

Logicomix has the admirable idea of presenting us, in comic form, with the story of the search for the logical underpinnings of mathematics i
Dec 02, 2009 rated it did not like it
EDIT, APRIL 2020: The original vitriolic review I wrote here used to get the occasional vitriolic response, and each time I read the review thereafter, it made me a little more uncomfortable. Not because I disagreed with the basic sentiment: I originally set out to say that I thought this book was pretentious, and that it used the comics medium rather cynically in order to market itself, without really demonstrating much understanding of what makes the medium really interesting and useful for st ...more
Richard Derus
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it


I suspect someone more familiar with the players and their theories would get even more out of this, but I definitely feel more kindly and receptive toward these eggheads, having seen through this their human sides and their passionate struggles to reach truth. Their integrity requires ruefully accepting it time and again when the newest genius tears down the fortress of truth each thought he had built. The constant questioning of p
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is too good. It's interesting in many ways: its choice of topic, presentation & narrative style.
Even the introduction & bibliography comes with graphics :D

It depicts different phases of the life of Bertrand Russell - the mathematician, logician, philosopher, political activist, as well as a Noble laureate. The book tries to be a simple, interesting guide to Russell's complex, laborious & frustrating conquest to pin down the foundations of mathematics.

Though it has an open ending, I ho
Jun 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I have a question for you. It's a simple-sounding question, but hard to answer, so I really want you to put a good amount of thought into it before you do. Okay? Yes, I'm still in Teacher-mode, but that's not important right now. My question is this:

What is truth?

It's one of those unanswerable questions that has bugged us ever since we started being able to ask unanswerable questions. Along with "Why is there evil in the world?" and "Do we have free will or are our lives pre-determined from the
Jon Stout
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Logicomix An Epic Search for Truth, came as a complete surprise to me. Given to me by a good friend for Christmas, this graphic novel first struck me as a psychodrama about an obsessive-compulsive personality, not at all resembling myself. But when I started to read it I realized that it was a history of early 20th century philosophy and foundations of mathematics, featuring cartoon characterizations of people I have studied at some length, such as Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Gottlob ...more
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
kind of disappointing; don't think it set out to do what it aims to do (and what it aims to do is frequently stated) in bringing the story of the search for rigourous logic to life thorugh the lives of the main protagnist(s). essentially its a potted biography of bertrand russell, but so shortened as to be fairly meaningless. it's covering and explanation of logical theories is equally skimpy and vague.
there's some neat comic tricks (asides to the reader, references to 'filming live'), a framing
David Rubenstein
Feb 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I never imagined reading a graphic novel--but here is a graphic novel that I highly recommend. As explained in the back of the book, this is not, strictly speaking, a biography. It is a novel, largely based on facts. Some of the meetings never took place in person, but all of the meetings are based, at the very least, on interactions through correspondence.

The book is highly readable, and enjoyable. It features interesting interactions between the authors and illustrators of the book, intermixed
Udit Nair
After a long period of time I have finished a book in one stretch. The book is highly readable and is very immersive too. I find it admirable that the authors chose graphic novel format to convey some of the most profound ideas and logical underpinnings of mathematics. The greatest advantage this book presents is the accessibility of the content. It helps common people who might not be well versed with foundational mathematics to atleast have a peak into that world. I also liked the psychologica ...more
Seth T.
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
When age-spanning epics are called for, there are few so often drawn from the Great Well of Story Archetypes as the battle between order and chaos. In the realms of the human and the personal, some variation of Boy Meets Girl is undoubtedly the go-to narrative frame. But when a teller really wants to up the stakes and sell his audience either a cosmology or an apocalypse, only gods and monsters will do. And such a pairing (almost until the postmoderns) demands Order in one corner, girded and rea ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Logicomix is an impressive (graphic) novel, as much in scope as visually and structurally, and as a reader with some background in mathematics and philosophy, I'm very glad that at least this kind of fiction is written. After some contemplation, I also came to agree that its subtitle, 'An Epic Search Truth', wasn't disappointed either. I fluctuated between the present one star short rating and the full during the course of my read, mulling over this point a fair bit and this is what I hope to re ...more
Sam Quixote
Sep 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The book is a modern telling of two stories: the life story of Bertrand Russell and the development of Logic. The story within the story is of an old Bertrand Russell going to give a lecture just days after Germany invaded Poland and the protestors surrounding the lecture hall demand he support the call for pacifism, to keep Britain out of the war. Russell invites them in and begins the lecture - of his life, of Logic, and his answer to their calls.

It helps to have the two narrating voices - Ru
Adarsh J
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was my first read of a book which covers a topic of my interest in a comic format, and it has done the job superbly! It also has the very interesting breaking the 4th wall kind of narration where some of the characters are aware of us, the readers and talk to us!

The authors use their artistic license liberally to convey the biography of 'Bertie' Russell, by keeping the story line very captivating. Definitely a very good read for those who are interested in logic, theoretical computer scienc
Andrej Karpathy
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Soooo good. A very fun graphic novel about people and their maddening quest for foundational mathematics and objective truth. The novel does a great job at faithfully portraying and expressing the obsession for solving these fundamental problems that consumes great minds. And no wonder-- it is written by mathematicians!
I definitely want more of it. Brought me back the love towards mathematics and logic. Also was a summerized yet detailed biography of Bertrand Russell whom now I endear. So yeah, surely worth a read. Oh, and of course I liked the "comic" way it was written and portraited, and the Appendix was very explanatory. ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a newbie to Philosophy. Just serendipitously tripped on reading about Wittgenstein and also saw a few videos on Deconstruction/PostStructuralism. Initially I found these big sounding words difficult to absorb but kept with them and became bit addicted in the flow. And finally landed on logic ( Tractatus by Wittgenstein).

This graphic novel was a welcome change and provided some great clarity on Russell's contribution. I consider myself a novice just enjoying how their thoughts progressed. Be
Dimitris Hall
Logicomix was good. But it wasn't exceptional.

The drama of logic and mathematics, in my opinion, is portrayed much better in Doxiadis's other novel, Uncle Petros. I liked how the decision to make it a graphic novel worked for this story, but to be honest I got lost on my way, trying to understand Bertrand's thoughts and his interaction with other mathematicians and/or logicians of variable mental soundness, including himself. By the end, it all seemed so trivial, as if no real answer could come
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
I have to confess I gamed this a little. This is my 300th review on goodreads, so I wanted it to be a special. So I chose a unique book - a graphic novel whose title also includes "an epic search for truth". And thankfully, it was a fantastic experience.
While the story is based on the life of Bertrand Russell, it is presented through the different perspectives of its makers too. In a sense, we get to see the debates they had and how they progressed on the storytelling. Self-referential is a mul
Danny Druid
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was so surprised by how greatly I enjoyed this graphic novel about analytic philosopher Bertrand Russel's epic quest to discover the foundations of mathematics. It goes to show the extent to which graphic novels are still an untapped medium for story-telling in the west.

The characterization in this book is just so damn good. It is hard not to like such characters as Whitehead, Wittgenstein and of course Russel from the moment they appear on the page. I love who the author argues that the idea
Feb 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
In a world where no other books competed for your valuable reading time (a finite resource), I'd have no hesitation in giving this book five stars. It's fun to read, executed with charm and flair (some might say chutzpah, and one has to admire the authors' sheer nerve in dreaming it up. Hell, you'll even learn a thing or two. A selective biography of Russell (with a few minor alterations), with cameo appearances by the various mathematical and philosophical luminaries who worked on the logical f ...more
Nov 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always believed that looking for expecting a perfect solution inevitably leads to extremism - for me, integrists are simply people who have become too lost in theory. They're not monsters - they're just people with strongly held beliefs who have forgotten that, more often than not, one has to tolerate a certain degree of uncertainty, even compromise, in order to reach a valid conclusion. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing touch with reality.

I went to a Catholic school until I was 18, so
Dec 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Each time I enter Doxiadis' book, I find more of a gap between what it is and what it could have been. He seems unwilling to drill down into the works he presents. ...more
Yeshi Dolma
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was an enjoyable read! Recommended to people interested in math, logic and its philosophy. The story is very engaging, esp. the part which is in the voice of Bertrand Russel. The story touches on the struggles and the philosophy that drove and inspired Russel and many other contemporary "thinkers" of 20th century. I wish I had read this before I had studied Gödel in college; I would have paid a thousand times more attention and would have liked it a lot more. :P So, the book definitely did ...more
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Cool comic with the authors telling us about the authors telling us about Bertrand Russell telling about Bertrand Russell. This pseudo-biography is not a 100% historically accurate (the book explicitly points that out) and there are almost no math details included.
The drawings are pleasing to the eye and the style is pretty similar to Herge's but with milder tones.
There were a few anti-semitic and sexist remarks that irked me but I realized that they were introduced to make the characters close
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's true. This is an epic search for truth.
Logic alongside with mathematics is a powerful weapon to understand the universe but it means that also contains its chaos. Therefore the main characters are running into these unsolved puzzles. I liked the mix of philosophy, logic, mathematics, history and ancient Greek tragedy.

I am really trying to write here something conclusive but I cannot. You don't find the ultimate truth but the journey that started long time ago and still continues.
Apr 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Math-wise, not especially revelatory to this reader -- someone who just barely passed high school calculus -- and it certainly wouldn't challenge a mathematician in that way, but maybe that's for the best. As a simplified biography of Bertrand Russell and a simplified history of the relationships between various schools of logical thought in the early 20th century, Logicomix maintains the mood of a lively conversation between well-adjusted nerds and the dinner dates they don't want to bore. Set ...more
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it
while a mostly interesting (if, at times, historically lax) account of bertrand russell's life and the hunt for the foundation of mathematics, logicomix strives for, perhaps, too lofty a goal - however admirable its attempt. employing the format of a graphic novel for so complex a subject is certainly a bold choice, but doxiadis and company seem to unnecessarily weigh their plot down by delving into russell's romantic life, his fear of madness, etc., instead of offering a deeper critique or exam ...more
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ACM Books: Logicomix Cycle 2 36 Apr 13, 2013 07:22PM  

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Apostolos Doxiadis (Greek: Απόστολος Δοξιάδης) was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1953, and grew up in Greece.
Although interested in fiction and the arts from his youngest years, a sudden and totally unexpected love affair with mathematics led him to New York's Columbia University at the age of fifteen. He did graduate work in Applied Mathematics at the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, w

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