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Galileo's Daughter: A Drama of Science, Faith and Love
Galileo's Daughter A Drama of Science Faith and Love Author:Dava Sobel Galileo's Daughter is the story of the relationship between the great Italian scientist Galileo and his daughter, by the author of Longitude. Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was the foremost scientist of his day. His inventions and discoveries were heralded around the world. His telescopes allowed him to reveal a new reality in the heavens and to d... more »efend the astounding proposition that the earth actually moves around the Sun. For this belief was tried for heresy and threatened with torture. Galileo is brought to life here as never before -- a man boldly compelled to explain the truths he discovered, human in his frailties and faith, devoted to his family and, especially, to his daughter. Since there could be no hope of marriage for his illegitimate daughter Galileo placed her, aged thirteen, in the convent of San Mateo in Arcetri. She was perhaps her father's equal in brilliance, industry and sensibility, and she proved to be his greatest source of strength through his most difficult years. Dava Sobel reveals the short life of Sister Marie Celeste through the 120 letters the nun wrote to her father from 1623 to her death ten years later from exposure, malnutrition and a broken heart at the age of 33 years. The letters reveal a loving relationship, a mutual passion for science and a unique insight into early modern history, all woven into Dava Sobel's compelling narrative. Galileo's Daughter tells the story of the most dramatic collision in history between science and religion. Sobel illuminates an entire era, when one man fought to reconcile the Heaven he revered as a good Catholic with the heavens he revealed through his telescope. Galileo's Daughter is a rich and unforgettable story.« less
I ordered _Galileo's Daughter_ on a whim. Wow. It was really, really good. The story is the story of the life of Galileo, and especially of his relationship with his older daughter, who is a nun with the convent name of Maria Celeste. The time period featured here is not one that I've ever been especially interested in. Nor did I know anything about Galileo, (beyond that Indigo Girls song and a conspiracy theory that someone told me when I was a teenager, that the Church actually knew already that the earth went around the sun, they just weren't ready for the public to know) or think that it was a lack in my life not to, but this book was riveting. Sobel did a great job of keeping you interested with the narrative and the letters from Maria Celeste to her father, without neglecting contextual information about the politics and church doctrine of the time. This book transformed my understanding of this period of Italian history. The idea of being arrested, tortured, or even executed for disagreeing with church doctrine is chilling. If you are interested in science, history, or the relationship between church and state, then order _Galileo's Daughter_ right away. Dava Sobel also wrote a similar book which I plan to investigate: _Longitude:The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time_. Five stars.
This book is a great combination of biography and memoir, and is told using a unique construction. The author has researched well the later life of Gallileo, and presents his story of experimentation, mathematics and presentation of Copernicus' earth-centric theory of the solar system and surrounding uproar in great detail, but interlaces those factual episodes with one half of a set of correspondence. She uses the surviving letters of his daughter to him during the latter half of his life to add to the dry facts the daily routine of his life and his concerns on more mundane things. Truly a unique combination of factual history and daily life.
I read this book after viewing a PBS special about Galileo, his troubles with the church, and his daughter. I knew his daughter was a nun and to support your father when your own "boss" is against him was mighty brave. I enjoyed this book. Very in-depth or what others might call tedious. Good read.