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Publisher's Summary

The young Austrian writer Daniel Kehlmann conjures a brilliant and gently comic novel from the lives of two geniuses of the Enlightenment. Toward the end of the 18th century, two young Germans set out to measure the world. One of them, the Prussian aristocrat Alexander von Humboldt, negotiates savannas and jungle, travels down the Orinoco River, tastes poisons, climbs the highest mountain known to man, counts head lice, and explores every hole in the ground. The other, the barely socialized mathematician and astronomer Carl Friedrich Gauss, does not even need to leave his home in Göttingen to prove that space is curved. He can run prime numbers in his head. He cannot imagine a life without women, yet he jumps out of bed on his wedding night to jot down a mathematical formula. Von Humboldt is known to history as the Second Columbus. Gauss is recognized as the greatest mathematical brain since Newton. Terrifyingly famous and more than eccentric in their old age, the two meet in Berlin in 1828. Gauss had hardly climbed out of his carriage before both men were embroiled in the political turmoil sweeping through Germany after Napoleon's fall. Already a huge best seller in Germany, Measuring the World marks the debut of a glorious new talent on the international scene.
©2006 Daniel Kehlmann; (P)2006 Phoenix Audio
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Critic Reviews

"Brilliant." (Kirkus)
"Measuring the World has proved to be nothing less than a literary sensation." (The Guardian)
"Notable for its brisk pacing, lively prose, and wry humor...which keenly complements Kehlmann's intelligent, if not especially deep, treatment of science, mathematics, and reason at the end of the Enlightenment." (Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Henrik on 04-24-07

Extremely disappointing - please avoid

I was hugely disappointed with this book - as it had been given fantastic reviews (especially in Europe where I live).

There is no clear point to the story, there are no climaxes, it ends very very strangely - and the narrator keeps a monotone voice throughout.

I'm baffled - and I just don't get the point what the author is trying to tell....

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13 of 16 people found this review helpful


By katrina on 03-24-14

Interesting but confusing

This is a fascinating story but the fact that it's translated I think led to some confusing passages. The narrator also didn't delineate the characters well, which sometimes made it harder to follow who was speaking and what was going on.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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