Magic takes many forms. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting that the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality – science.
Packed with inspiring explanations of space, time and evolution, laced with humour and clever thought experiments, The Magic of Reality explores a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? What causes tsunamis? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, inspirational detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist too.
Richard Dawkins elucidates the wonders of the natural world to all ages with his inimitable clarity and exuberance in a text that will enlighten and inform for generations to come.
The copy that currently occupies shelf space next to St Augustine’s Confessions – as I confess I get a kick out of putting unlikely titles next to each other – is the hardback edition, and it is a lavish, weighty, and fully illustrated, which is preferable to the paperback edition.
Dave McKean (one of the artists involved with Neil Gaiman’s magnificent The Sandman series, amongst other projects) is behind the varied and in many cases gorgeous illustrations. There is plenty here to thrill the eye as well as to inform, and it will appeal to children as much as it will adults. The intention is to attract all to the wonderful world of science, which it does.
Dawkins has departed from his usual style of writing in favour of something simpler, and I didn’t find the book particularly challenging, it was however very insightful and anybody with a love of exploring science and revelling in the knowledge we have accumulated over the millenia will enjoy the book. Continue reading “The Magic of Reality – Richard Dawkins”