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This particular work is not well suited for an audio book because of the extensive references to formulas and diagrams apparently in the hard copy version. The narrarator actually reads from geometric diagrams by line segment notations. It's appeal is further limited by recitation of extensive passages from Galileo's dialogues and letters. There are some interesting insights into Galileo's broader interests and accomplishments. Galileo fans should stick to the bound version of this one.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
First, the book has a great deal of detail and is extremely informative. That is the good part. The bad part, for me at least, is that the book contains many mathematical formulas and all of them are read out loud. I'm not saying I could understand them even if I looked at them, but listening to them is incomprehensible to me. Also the author refers to drawings and points on the drawings have letters, so there is a great deal of "the lever at point 'h' is swung to 'l' " etc. It makes no sense without seeing the drawing. Also if you get the book, you must be prepared for a great deal of discussion about physics and mathematics. It's really more scientific history than just a biography. It's well done, but perhaps not a good choice for an audible book.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
I downloaded this hoping for an insightful biography of a famous man and some clue as to what exactly he had achieved to deserve such fame. All of that is here, but there is a great deal of detail on the various theories and ideas he proposed or discussed, and to be honest it sometimes read more like an A-Level textbook than a pleasureable and informative read. At various stages the text discusses his work on geometry, and frequent references are made to diagrams which, being an audio book, the listener cannot see. You then get a long dialogue telling you about A, B, C and the line G to H, and so on, none of which make any sense without the diagram in question, although frankly it would not make much more sense to me if I did have them. Some mention of Galileo's geometric work is fine as it is part of the man and his legacy, but great swathes of this kind of detail was too much for me and, I suspect, for most general readers.
On his astronomical work the book is on firmer ground, as it is with the difficulties he had with the vested interests of the Church. However here too the long reproductions of conversations he wrote to discuss philisophical ideas are hard going.
In short then this is rather too heavy to be a generally accessible story of the man's life and work, which is what I was looking for. If you want to get heavily into the detail then this is for you (only have a paper copy for the many diagrams to hand), but for those with a more casual interest in the history of natural science this might be a poor choice.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
The down-side to this was the fact that equations and mathematical figures had to be listened to, which probably gave me an insight into the challenges visually impaired people experience in a talk where mathematics is being used. But the biography was lyrically crafted, rendering the assiduous scholarship flow smoothly not only through the worlds of astronomy, mathematics and theology that Galileo's life coursed through and redefined, but also his music, poetry and literary taste including his fascinating (if crackpot) analyses of Dante's circles of hell. This is a scholarly biography, but it reads, and is read, flowingly, making it an engaging and rewarding listening experience.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful