For specialists and students.




A history of science in the centuries before Copernicus, Galileo and Newton.

After the Visigoth sack of Rome in 410 and the subsequent burning of the great Library of Alexandria, the ancient Greco-Roman world descended into the darkness of the early Middle Ages, writes historian Freely (Physics/Bosphorous Univ.; Light From the East: How the Science of Medieval Islam Helped to Shape the Western World, 2011, etc.). Yet fragments of classical learning survived in the keeping of a handful of scholars in monasteries. In time, the monastic movement produced the first European scientists, whose work sparked the emergence of modern science. In this revealing but plodding account, Freely traces the transmission of ancient Greek philosophical and scientific works to the Islamic world, where scholars took the lead in science and passed their knowledge on to Europe. In thumbnail portraits, he describes the work of Ibn Sina, Gerard of Cremona and others who conveyed Arab science to the West. By 1500, Europe, with 80 universities, had undergone “a tremendous intellectual revival.” Freely charts the advance of that revival, with Albertus Magnus becoming the first to use the modern scientific method based on observation and experimentation, and Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon making full use of the experimental method. In an overview of subsequent, increasingly modern science, Freely describes work on the new science of motion by 14th-century Oxford scientists; Newton’s successful explanation of the rainbow in 1714; and the astronomical observations and calculations of Copernicus, which marked the onset of the scientific revolution.

For specialists and students.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59020-607-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Overlook

Review Posted Online: Aug. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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