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Daily Beast

“Engaging . . . . Marvelous . . . . Poetic” — The Daily Beast

By Wendy Smith. Published in the Daily Beast, Oct. 20, 2017

I am honored to have received such a gorgeously written review by Wendy Smith in The Daily Beast, one that captures exactly what I wanted to accomplish with the book.  She starts by praising Eye of the Beholder for being “one of those engaging books that make you smarter without making you suffer,” and ends with “This poetic, inclusive approach to popular science writing makes Eye of the Beholder an unfailing pleasure to read.”

How Two Dutch Geniuses Taught Us to See

Vermeer the painter and Leeuwenhoek the scientist were contemporaries in 17th century Delft, where each man pioneered breakthroughs that upended conventional wisdom about reality.

Vermeer the painter and Leeuwenhoek the scientist were contemporaries in 17th century Delft, where each man pioneered breakthroughs that upended conventional wisdom about reality.
Eye of the Beholder: Johannes Vermeer, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, and the Reinvention of Seeing is one of those engaging books that makes you smarter without making you suffer. Laura J. Snyder’s scholarly yet accessible narrative offers refresher courses on the Scientific Revolution and the golden age of Dutch art, contextualized in a lively portrait of 17th-century Dutch society and personalized in the stories of two brilliant innovators who happened to live in the same bustling town.

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“A Great Weekend Read” — The Daily Beast

The Philosophical Breakfast Club was designated a “Great Weekend Read” by The Daily Beast. “Snyder weaves a compelling . . . tale of the transformation of science in the Victorian era. . . . She leaves the reader with an inspiring sense of just how influential these men were in shaping our world and laying the foundation for major science and technological changes.”

Read the full review here.

I especially love how the author of the review highlights the enduring importance of these men in three areas: the issue of public funding, the collection and calculation of vast data sets, and the question of the relation of the arts and the sciences. As the review ends: “With Snyder’s book the call to action is clear: bring the arts and the sciences back to the breakfast table and raise a mug of ale in memory of the four Victorian scientists who changed the world.”