29 July 2012

Great Summer Reading- Two Brilliant Books

Posted by Dan Satterfield

A couple of books to recommend that I have enjoyed immensely. One has nothing to do with science, other than the fact that Abraham Lincoln’s opinion of weather forecasters was ( and deservedly so at the time) rather low.

Science First: The Magic of Reality

Richard Dawkins has produced a fantastically illustrated book for young adults called the Magic of Reality. I say young adults, but I certainly enjoyed it. It’s a must read for those who have little or no science background, because it does the one thing that any good popular science book should do: explain HOW we know, WHAT we know.

This book has already won several book prizes and will undoubtedly win many more. Any child over 10 (and most members of Congress) will get a lot out of this book, and to say anything other than it is simply brilliant would be an understatement. The book isn’t an in-depth treatment of any subject, but instead a basic primer of how scientific method works and how it enables us to discover things about the Universe, while separating fact and fiction.

Note: Unlike some books, this book is BEST experienced on an iPad.

Team of Rivals

I am a history buff, but not per say a Civil War history buff above other periods, but Team of Rivals may change that. After reading Doris Kearns-Goodwin’s masterpiece on Lincoln and his cabinet, I realize just what an amazing time that era was. More-so, my respect for the political genius of Abraham Lincoln has grown by several orders of magnitude.

It was 900 plus pages on my iPad, but I devoured this page turner (and so has everyone else I know that has read it). Buy it, or find it at the library ASAP. It should be required reading in any course about the American Civil War. If all you know of Lincoln (and his cabinet) is from college text-books, and the Ken Burn’s PBS series, prepare to be amazed. For those whose knowledge of the subject is primarily from the conspiracy based junk history programs prevalent on cable networks (like the History Channel), the truth is much more entertaining!

I would dearly love to have an autographed copy of this book. It too, is nothing less than a brilliant work.