What readers are saying about my books

New Review of “Il club dei filosofi che volevano cambiare il mondo”

A review of the Italian edition of The Philosophical Breakfast Club has appeared in the November issue of RAS: Rassegna Dell’Autonomia Scholastica:

“It is a novel-like book that one reads with pleasure . . . with the desire to prolong the pleasure of following the lives of the four scientists involved.”

You can read the review here.

“Succeeds Famously in Evoking the Excitement, Variety and Wide-Open Sense of Possibility of the Scientific Life in 19th Century Britain” — American Scientist

A wonderful review just out in American Scientist!!

“In Snyder’s able hands, the intertwined lives of the four Cambridge friends become the stuff of a Trollope novel. . . . she deftly interweaves snippets from the letters with lucid explanations of the science involved and with scenes from 19th-century British life. . . . Focusing on the correspondence also allows Snyder to blend intellectual and family registers, just as her protagonists did in their letters. She is alert to nuance and sensitive to what is unsaid as well as said. . . . Snyder succeeds famously in evoking the excitement, variety and wide-open sense of possibility of the scientific life in 19th-century Britain . . . splendidly evoked in this engaging book.”

The review itself is long, beautifully written, and filled with tidbits from the book; it can be read here.

The review is by Lorraine Daston, historian of science and Executive Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

An “Extraordinary Book” — Metapsychology

A lovely new review of The Philosophical Breakfast Club in Metapsychology:

An “extraordinary book….Snyder takes us from the early meetings through the careers and marriages of the four and to the end of their amazing lives. The narrative sparkles with personal details, political fights, love, brilliant discoveries, hard work, science and math, always focusing on the four protagonists.”

Read the full review here.

Press Release: Australia’s “Most Loved” Science Book

The Royal Institution of Australia has issued a press release announcing the winner of the “Favorite Science Book” poll.

“Australia’s most popular science book has been revealed. The most-loved title is The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World by Laura J. Snyder.

“The Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus) opened its poll on 3 July 2011 in the lead up to the Great Big Science Read, held in August each year as part of National Science Week. Readers were asked to submit and vote for their favourite science-related titles, either fiction or non-fiction. Books by both local and international authors were accepted.

“‘August is the month of the Great Big Science Read and we wanted to find out which book is the most popular book in Australia. And the crowd told us!’ said Petra Dzurovcinova, Digital Communications Manager for RiAus. Titles were voted on each week, with the least popular eliminated. Fans were kept up to date on the remaining titles on Facebook, Twitter and via the RiAus enewsletter.

“From almost 100 books, Laura J. Snyder’s four-part biography of a group of 19th century scientists was voted as the favourite science book. Snyder is a writer, professor and expert in Victorian science history and philosophy.

“‘The beauty of this book is in the way we are introduced to four amazing scientists,’ said science fan and RiAus blogger Rosalie Wodecki. ‘It was deep enough that I feel I know them, but with enough mystery that I wish to know more’, she said.

“A solid mix of fiction and non-fiction books were represented among the winning titles, with The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams placed second and A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, third.”

See the rest of the press release here.

“Most Popular Science Book in Australia” — Royal Institute of Australia

The Philosophical Breakfast Club came out on top in the Royal Institution of Australia’s poll for “Most Popular Science Book!”

Here’s the final list of the top 9, out of the initial 100 books:

1. The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends Who Transformed Science and Changed the World, Laura J Snyder
2. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams
3. A Short History Of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
4. The Selfish Gene, by Richard Dawkins
5. The Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin
6. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
7. Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson & The Foundation Series, by Isaac Asimov
8. 1984, by George Orwell

Thanks to all the book’s fans, and to the Royal Institution of Australia for running the poll—a great way to remind all of us to pick up our favorite science books again, or to discover new favorites!! (The only one on the short list I’ve never read is Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything. Maybe I can fit it in before starting to teach at the end of the month. . . .)

You can see the list on the Royal Institution of Australia’s website, here.

“A Vivid Picture of a Revolution in Scientific Thought” — Fully Booked

It was great to see this review in Fully Booked Zine, published in the Philippines:

“Snyder paints a vivid picture of a revolution in scientific thought. . . . Its portrayal of a world and time much different from our own is remarkable, and Snyder spares no expense in immersing the reader into the world that produced these natural philosophers.”

Read the full review here.

“Utterly compelling . . . a living, breathing page-turner!” — Michael Croucher

A wonderful review from Michael Croucher of Walking Randomly (and Manchester University):

“I found Snyder’s combination of biography, history and science to be utterly compelling . . . so much so that during my time reading it, my beloved iPad stayed at home, lonely and forgotten, while I undertook my daily commute. This is no dry treatise on nineteenth century science; instead it is a living, breathing page-turner about a group of very colourful individuals who lived in a time where science was done rather differently from how it is practiced today. . . . Who would have thought that a group of nineteenth century geeks could form the basis of one of the best books I’ve read all year?”

For the full review, see here.

★ Starred Review from Science Books and Films

The Philosophical Breakfast Club received a starred review from Science Books and Films, a magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“A unique view of the background and times in which these men lived, and a peek at the implications that their work and philosophy had on today’s modern science.”

I love that the magazine included an image of the book’s cover that takes up 2/3 of the page! It’s the only book with such a large spread—kudos to the jacket designer, Evan Gaffney, for creating a cover that no one can resist!

Subscribers can read the full review here.

“Snyder smoothly and meticulously tells this story of intellectual revolution and triumph” — Providence Journal

I am so happy to see such a great review coming out in this Sunday’s Providence Journal. I especially like how the reviewer highlights one of the main messages of the book:

“All four led the evolution of natural philosophy (then practiced as an avocation by gentlemen of means and sometimes genius) to modern science as practiced by professional scientists.”

The reviewer also had this to say:

“Laura J. Snyder in The Philosophical Breakfast Club smoothly and meticulously tells this complicated story of intellectual revolution and triumph in Victorian England: The ancient Royal Society, the gem of the Enlightenment turned into an aristocratic ‘rotten borough,’ is pushed aside by the new British Association for the Advancement of Science. Whewell’s writings on inductive reasoning open the way for the success of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Jones’ inductive economics aces the forecasts of doom from Malthus and Ricardo. And Babbage invents the Analytical Engine, a programmed mechanical prototype of today’s electronic computer.

“Along the way, Snyder provides much interesting social and historic detail. . . . Great scientists have walk-on parts in every chapter.”

Read the full review here.

“One of the Best Books Out This Year!” — Bookin’ with Sunny

A  blog review so amazing I can’t resist posting it here!

“Laura J. Snyder has written one of the best books out this year.  The Philosophical Breakfast Club, a narrative history of the world of science in Victorian Great Britain, not only makes a subject many of us left behind in our high school chemistry labs come alive, but also makes it powerfully relevant to the world we live in today.”

“The story Snyder tells runs parallel to much of what we experience in the 21st century. For the layperson, whose only practical association with science involves taking our meds, turning out the lights, flying to visit our children, and using our PCs and laptops as best we can, this book is a lively, accessible and very close look at the world of modern science in its infancy. . . . This is not a fast read, but once started it is hard to put down.”

The full review can be read here.