gargamelscat's Reviews > Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra

Unknown Quantity by John Derbyshire
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U 50x66
's review
Aug 20, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: math, 2012

The book falls between the stools of "popular math" and math treatments but is not rigorous enough to satisfy those interested in the latter and loses those drawn to the former in splurges of (incomplete) equations and hard to follow

On the plus side the potted histories of the various mathematicians encountered are entertaining and the book is reasonably well written.

It did serve the purpose of illustrating the arcane geography of modern algebra but didn't make me interested in it. Somewhat disappointing, I felt that the author was writing for himself rather than the reader.

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