God said 'Let Newton be,' and all was light." --My favorite little monster.
Isaac Newton by Mitch Stokes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this book because my math teacher wrote it, not out of any inherent interest in Newton. That lasted about the first two chapters. From that point on, I was fascinated with the little guy: obsessive, neurotic, reclusive, a genius with a few slight misanthropic tendencies--he really is an astonishing character. Nothing at all like I'd pictured him, and I highly recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested in anything at all (though it is somewhat weak on dragons).
Stokes obviously knows what he's talking about, and he does a magnificent job of getting a well rounded review of Newton into so small of a book. Not only do we get the big picture, but we get an enormous amount of personality as well, which is fairly unusual.
My one complaint would have to be the somewhat inconsistent prose: Usually an author has a particular tone that he maintains. You can tell the difference between a paragraph written by Jorge Luis Borges and one written by Oscar Wilde; between Chesterton and Tolkien. Stokes' writing seemed to vary a good deal: none of it was at all bad, but there is a difference between a well researched author, and a well published researcher, and Stokes falls into the latter category. But if you approach his book with that in mind, you will not be disappointed.
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