In which I recommend some bedtime reading

Some time back the Pop Science Guy invited me to write a ‘10 Great History of Science Books’ list for his blog, to which I readily agreed. However being a professional procrastinator when it comes to writing anything I put it to one side and never got round to it. About a week ago PSG reminded me of my acceptance of his offer and this time I decided not to procrastinate any longer and finally write that list. On the day that I originally said yes I spontaneously wrote a list of the books I might include in my list, aiming mostly for books for the general reader rather than specialist academic texts and came up with thirteen titles and thought what the fuck “why are we so obsessed with lists of ten this and that?” and decided to stick to thirteen, a good baker’s dozen. As you will see I actually talk about more than thirteen books but then again why the hell not. Want to know what I recommend? Then go here and read your fill!





Filed under Autobiographical, History of science

6 responses to “In which I recommend some bedtime reading

  1. Some great recommendations there, Thony. As if I didn’t have enough on my ‘To Read’ list already!

  2. Jeb

    “Theories of Visions From Al-Kindi to Kepler ”

    I can find the time for that. Just finished reading his critical notes on John Pecham, Lindberg was able to take a seriously complex subject and introduce it with deceptive simplicity and confidence. His enthusiasm also for translation and the dissemination of historical knowledge, has that pleasing optimism, urgency and excitement of the early 70’s translation schools that flourished in medieval history and classics and is still somewhat appealing.

    Rather hard not to be impressed by his achievement, read one you immediately want to read more. Mix between plain straightforward, confident historical narrative, and deep detail, is also something to aspire to for any form of historical writing but certainly not easy to pull of.

    Its easy to find the time for his work as its a rather rewarding and pleasing way to spend time.

  3. Thanks for the post! My readings of the history of science are, alas, rather limited at the moment, bits from Durant (perhaps dated, but the guy sure can write), Foucault (just the History of Madness, I’m afraid), and a few books by Szasz (who certainly has an ax to grind) demarcating the extent, such as it is. And other than Kuhn, I wasn’t sure who else to turn to. Thanks for giving me some direction! 🙂
    –a 25 year old lover of history.

  4. James R. Voelkel

    First of all, thank you for including my book, The Composition of Kepler’s Astronomia Nova, in your list. It is immensely gratifying.

    I was interested to see someone commenting on your Science Book a Day post mention Rudwick’s Great Devonian Controversy. I read that book in graduate school, and it was very influential on my methodological approach for my book.

  5. I’m oddly delighted to find I’d read at least one of these already.

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