Customer Reviews for

Galileo's Daughter

Average Rating 4
( 58 )
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5 Star

(24)

4 Star

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3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

HISTORY BUFFS, REJOICE!

This is an absolutely fascinating look at Galileo and his relationship to his daughter and science through letters penned between the two. It is a shame that many of his daughter's letters were burned (go figure, it was the Inquisition period) but the few that remain ar...
This is an absolutely fascinating look at Galileo and his relationship to his daughter and science through letters penned between the two. It is a shame that many of his daughter's letters were burned (go figure, it was the Inquisition period) but the few that remain are an amazing insight into the man, his science, his religious beliefs and the love he had for his daughter. I highly recommend it.

posted by OSAKAROSE on October 14, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Would have rather read about the moody daughter

Three stars only because the story of Galileo is enriching. The daughter's letters are stilted and unrevealing, and it's hard to get a grasp on her true feelings. These letters, full of: 'The fruit was wonderful' and 'Thou art so esteemed to one and all,' gets repetit...
Three stars only because the story of Galileo is enriching. The daughter's letters are stilted and unrevealing, and it's hard to get a grasp on her true feelings. These letters, full of: 'The fruit was wonderful' and 'Thou art so esteemed to one and all,' gets repetitious early on. There's a moody, resentful daughter, also cloistered away with this one of the title, who would have been a far more interesting character than this one. But not too much is said (or possibly known) about that one, Livia.

posted by Anonymous on February 4, 2002

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2000

    Engrossing Galileo Primer

    This is an engrossing, highly readable biography of Galileo and, to a lesser degree (due to a lack of existing information), his daughter, Soeur Marie Celeste. The book translates a number of letters that Soeur Marie Celeste wrote to her father; none from Galileo to her have been found (although they are alluded to by Soeur Marie Celeste). The author is thorough in her documentation of Galileo's scientific endeavors and legal struggles, and allows the reader to draw his own conclusions about the personal merits/neuroses of both people. It's hard not to be struck by the sexism of the time, whereby Galileo goes out of his way to make sure his lazy, disappointing, recalcitrant illegitmate son is both legitimized and employed by the Church, whereas his favored, hardworking and excrutiatingly devoted daughter is sent to a cloistured order where she lives like a literal prisoner... starving, sleep deprived and overworked. It is also obvious that although a genius, a wonderful professional mentor and a generous man, Galileo is no hero -- willing to renounce the scientific truths he knows in order to stay out of hot water. He was also a social climber. The only regret a reader might have is the lack of knowledge one is left with regarding how Soeur Marie Celeste actually felt about her lot in life -- and how her father justified it. But it's to the author's credit that she never tries to fill in what historical proof doesn't offer. Also very helpful for readers -- like me -- who aren't science whizzes and would like Galileo's experiments and discoveries explained in a simple manner.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    Galileo's Daughter was a very interesting read. It gives a diffe

    Galileo's Daughter was a very interesting read. It gives a different perspective and a different side to Galileo's life. As a student, I wasn't taught much on Galileo except for his discoveries in science, so this book showed a side to his life that was never mentioned in any textbook I've read. I never knew he even had children, so the actual letters being in the novel was really fascinating. Though Sobel didn't create the letters, of course, but she placed them all together in a matter that really told a story. -Gabby M

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    A great man vs. Neanderthal churchmen

    I'd read Sobel's Longitude and, as an astronomy fan, decided to give GD a try. It was well worth the effort and having the advantage of reading the actual letters that Galileo's daughter, Sister Maria Celeste, had written to him made the reading experience even more touching. Before reading this book I was not aware of Galileo's other contributions to science. It's too bad that the Catholic church had not encouraged him and his investigations. But then, what do you expect from a male-dominated hierarchy whose main concern, now as then, was maintaining that hierarchy? Poor Sister Maria Celeste, being trapped as a nun in a time when women's contributions were denegrated. Her loving letters to her father were so poignant. I was not aware of her final resting place, despite having toured Santa Croce. In addition, Sobel included illustrations, helpful notes, and an extensive bibliography for further reading.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Galileo's Daughter is great for book clubs and conversation.

    The book is actually a memoir through letters saved from Galileo's eldest daughter. Sadly, the convent destroyed the letters from Galileo, so accounts are one-sided. The goes into detail about Galileo's passion for the science (as well as his daughter) and the interogation from the Holy Office for his book The Dialogue. Very interesting read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2006

    Galileo's Daughter: a great book, but a bit deceiving!

    Draft Galileo¿s Daughter: a great book but a bit deceiving! November 16, 2006 Reviewer: Jeremy D. (Georgia) Dava Sobel¿s book, Galileo¿s Daughter is an interesting read. When reading the title you began to think that this book is only about the life of Galileo¿s daughter. However, once you began reading you began to unravel that the book is about the life and multiple accomplishments and observations of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642). It details Galileo¿s life through letters written between Galileo and his daughter, Suor Maria Celeste. Galileo was already a renowned scientist when he and his daughter began exchanging letters. It starts out detailing Galileo¿s family. We learn about his father, mother and siblings and extended family members. It tells of his early career as a mathematician and philosopher to the Grand Duke. He then began teaching at the University of Pico and then the University of Padua. Galileo was brilliant but as his accomplishment and revelations grew so did his enemies. We soon began to read about Galileo¿s plight and struggles with the Catholic Church. Galileo had a very strong faith so this controversy between he and the church bothered him tremendously. He, however, was committed to scientific investigations so his work continued. Galileo proved that we did not live in a geocentric universe. By doing this, the Catholic Church began to see Galileo as a major threat. They feared the scientific truth. Galileo is summoned before the Holy Office of the Inquisition. He was accused of heresy and placed under house arrest. Throughout it all, Galileo remained focused and dedicated. While under house arrest Galileo, became ill but he continued his work until death. We would have not known some of the information about the world and the solar system had it known been for Galileo Galilei. It is riveting to see the relationship between Galileo and his daughter. What a conflict, Suor Marie Celeste¿s allegiance to her father and her allegiance to the Catholic Church. I could not imagine what it would have been like if Galileo¿s daughter had not nurtured him spiritually, emotionally and physically throughout his turmoil.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2002

    Much More Than a Biography

    I consider myself fortunate to have received the book Galileo¿s Daughter as a gift, because I don¿t think that I would have purchased in on my own. Based on the title and cover one may assume that the book is just a biography, which it is. But it is so much more. It documents the setting in which modern science was born. Today, for the most part people are comfortable with science and the many ways it makes our lives safer and more comfortable. However, during Galileo¿s lifetime it took great courage to seek the truth through scientific means. The book documents what it meant to live in a society that was controlled completely by the Church. To be an independent thinker meant putting your entire world at risk. This book makes one realize that only in the last few hundred years have people been able to study how nature works. This book illustrates that science can arrive at different conclusions than religion or philosophy about the world around us. The book inspired me to explore how mankind has arrived at our current way of thinking about uncertainty, opportunity and our place in nature. In other words about the meaning of life and what is our purpose. It is amazing how much we accept as true about nature and the meaning of life just because someone else said that the way it is. This book inspired me to write by book ¿The Meaning of Life: If life is a Journey You Need Good Directions¿

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2002

    Thank goodnes it was about Galileo!

    I was a bit hesitant to read this novel because I was afraid it would get too syrupy regarding the father/daugher relationship. While there is some dialogue, it is minimal (I was horrified how he shipped his daughers off to a convent). On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised that the book is really about Galileo's trials with the Vatican. It was interesting to see how the Vatican treated Galileo thirty years after they hung Bruno for the same offence. A really great read!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2001

    An Excellent Biography

    Galileo¿s Daughter puts the reader in the middle of a revolution. Of course, the revolution here is philosophical rather than physical, but no less dangerous. In this uprising, the lone revolutionary can lose his souls as well as his life, and Dava Sobel¿s sense of story conveys this danger to her readers. As with most revolutionaries, Galileo¿s attention is diverted by other concerns. So, while he fends off the Jesuits and placates a fickle Pope, he must also tend to the needs of his daughter, Maria Celeste, who¿s monastic life is filled with its own challenges. The result is a very human portrait of this brilliant scientist and the world in which he lives ¿ an alian world removed from ours by almost four centuries; a world in which a beloved daughter¿s teeth fall out one at a time and her father can do nothing about it. Yet this world may not be as different from ours as we first think. The political intrigues, the double dealings, the two-facedness of the characters make the story as current as tonight¿s television channel guide. That is Sobel¿s strength and the main strength of Galileo¿s Daughter. It reads like fiction and engages the reader in the lives of two characters for whom the reader comes to care.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2001

    Best Book I Have Ever Read

    I have always being fascinated by the story of Galileo, but this book has shed new light. Sobel does a wonderful job of immersing the reader in 17th Century Italy, while showing the human side of this great scientist, through his daughter's letters, and his heart-filling paternal love, that many of us would have wished to have. Great book of a scientist, history and religion. Highly recommend to anyone interested in theology, astronomy,or science.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2001

    A Peek back in time to Science, Religion, and Literature

    I found Ms. Sobel's book 'Galileo's Daughter' fascinating. The times and the early efforts at science in the book show that we have come a long way. Sometimes we fall back and disregard the scientific method, but the markers have been set by persistent people like Galileo. A serious and must read book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2001

    Who was the Daughter?

    I guess I missed the point again. The letters gave no insight into Galileo or his daughter. They could have been the letters of Schultz the butcher's daughter. Longitude was an 8 on a scale of 10, the Daughter a 2. There must be a better bio. of Galileo avaliable. So the daughter was a victum of a sexist world, what's new for 1630?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2000

    Its Interesting

    Its interesting that I just came here and saw T. Lynch's review. I too read both these books and thought they were great. Sobel has made me want to revisit Galileo's Europe-- this time with his fascinating story in mind. What a great idea to take these letters and use them to weave a new spin on what might have been thought to be an old story. This has been a great year for popular science writing, woven into history as this account, and woven into celebrities of history and their fascinating biographies. Sobel is so successful in recreating the human element in his stories. I feel I could go back to Europe now and have more of a feel for the world that used to be there but is still reflected. I used to not get much interest out of the churchs and monasteries of European tours; this time I might feel differently. Thanks for bringing it to life.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 9, 2012

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    Posted July 24, 2011

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    Posted April 26, 2011

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    Posted June 27, 2011

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