Thursday, January 15, 2009

Behind every great man...

I don't normally think about book reviews as a subject for this space but Galileo can be considered an Honorary Codewright. So with that said, here is a review I wrote this past summer...

Over the weekend I finished reading Galileo's Daughter by Dava Sobel. It was a fantastic read. It's more of a biography of the great man but told really well. I was impressed with the historical research from political/military events around Europe to the intrigue of the Catholic church. Even minor things, like getting to hear about his family's financial troubles or the details of printing a book in those times brought enlightenment. I never knew that cloistered nuns in the 17th century had to deal with money to such an extent. There are several things that really come through. The man was as devoted a Catholic as you'd ever meet. The idea that he had gone against it brought him to his knees. In contrast to his faith, he also had a deep desire for the truth and this legendary collision between faith and science, centered upon this one brilliant and pious man, speaks volumes about human nature. What you will not forget though is his relationship with his exquisitely minded (his words) oldest daughter Virginia who took the appropriate name Maria Celeste when she took her vows. Even though his letters to her do not survive, we have a treasure trove of her letters to him that reveal as devoted a daughter as any father could ever want. That she reveres him and dotes on him is even more incredible considering it was all done from within the walls of the San Matteo convent. From the mundane news of her fellow nuns to the huge responsibilities of taking care of Galileo's estate and accounts while he was in Rome facing charges of heresy, she was always there for him as he was for her; ever his confidante, his guardian angel, his supporter, his devoted daughter. The author closes the story with such care and brings the relationship between the great man and his reverent daughter full circle in such a way that, like the motion of the stars he strove most of his life to reveal to the world, the soul of the reader will be forever moved.

This is the short form. I need to write a longer review, hopefully later this week.
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious

No comments:

Post a Comment

I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments at my discretion