Customer Reviews for

Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Great Book!

I checked this book out from my school library for a science project. At first I was suprised with the size of it, but whenever I opened the book I read at least 15 to 20 pages each time, and before I knew it I finished it.
It was basically more about Galileo than h...
I checked this book out from my school library for a science project. At first I was suprised with the size of it, but whenever I opened the book I read at least 15 to 20 pages each time, and before I knew it I finished it.
It was basically more about Galileo than his daughter. Throughout the books there were letters that Suor Maria Celeste (Galileo's daughter)wrote to her father about how things were going in her life at the convent being a nun. He also had another daughter and a son. Both of the girls were nuns. Maria would sometimes send her father some cake along with her letters which she would send with a messenger who would then travel a couple hundred of miles. She would also include prayers in her letters because her father fell unbelievingly ill one year.
Maria and her father had a very close father-daughter relationship. Maria would ask her father for money sometimes as alms to support the convent. Her father would sometimes send her fabric for her to sew him curtains or to even fix up an old shirt.

Overall it was really a great book. I would recommend it for school projects or even just reading in free time or book clubs.

posted by Rana-19 on March 10, 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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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    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 are an amazing insight into the man, his science, his religious beliefs and the love he had for his daughter. I highly recommend it.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 10, 2011

    Great Book!

    I checked this book out from my school library for a science project. At first I was suprised with the size of it, but whenever I opened the book I read at least 15 to 20 pages each time, and before I knew it I finished it.
    It was basically more about Galileo than his daughter. Throughout the books there were letters that Suor Maria Celeste (Galileo's daughter)wrote to her father about how things were going in her life at the convent being a nun. He also had another daughter and a son. Both of the girls were nuns. Maria would sometimes send her father some cake along with her letters which she would send with a messenger who would then travel a couple hundred of miles. She would also include prayers in her letters because her father fell unbelievingly ill one year.
    Maria and her father had a very close father-daughter relationship. Maria would ask her father for money sometimes as alms to support the convent. Her father would sometimes send her fabric for her to sew him curtains or to even fix up an old shirt.

    Overall it was really a great book. I would recommend it for school projects or even just reading in free time or book clubs.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2011

    Science, who thought it could be so exciting!

    Gazing at the night sky will never be the same. This engaging picture of Galileo, taken from letters written to him from his daughter, reveal not only the man but the whole of the world at a crossroads of faith and history vs. intellect and science.

    Galileo was a man of both pathways but unlike most of the world he could see the crossroads as a map toward the future, not a roadblock.
    His faith sustained him when his science made him a target of the faithful. His intellectual powers helped him see beyond the obvious into a sky full of wonders and undiscovered worlds.

    A scholar, a father, a scientist, a politician, an enemy of the church, Galileo comes to life as if seen reflected in a mirror of his own making. His inventions become understandable, his honesty is breathtaking and his influence on our daily lives is seen as if through one of his famous telescopes.

    Science is always better if it is seen against the background of daily life, it takes on its true colors and becomes a protagonist that engages our minds and forces us to realize the old truth that progress always comes at a cost. This book, like Galileo's telescopes, helps us see the connections between intellect, mechanics, and man's perception of and engagement with the universe.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2001

    Familial love throughout ...

    The title, Galileo¿s Daughter, is a bit of a misnomer. At least, that is the perception throughout the early pages of Dava Sobel¿s historical narrative. Other than a letter sprinkled here and there from daughter to father, the book appears to be about Galileo. Further reading, however, enlightens the reader to the fact that Galileo and his daughter, Virginia, are inextricably bonded¿a book about either will be a book about the other. Little is known about Virginia, Galileo¿s illegitimate daughter. She along with a brother and a sister are the offspring of Galileo and his long-time Venetian mistress, Marina Gamba. Galileo never marries, and he and Marina eventually part ways; however, he maintains a familial relationship with his children throughout his life. Because of their illegitimacy, the daughters of Galileo are not suitable for a marriage arrangement. The next honorable choice becomes the convent. Galileo, therefore, places thirteen-year-old Virginia and her twelve-year-old sister, Livia, in the Convent of San Matteo in Arcetri. We know little about Livia. Virginia¿s letters shed a bit of light on this second child of Galileo; however, there does not seem to be very much interaction between the great scientist and his younger daughter. As a nun, Virginia adopts the name Maria Celeste, a name to honor her father¿s fascination with the stars. Before writing this book, Sobel translated over one hundred and twenty letters written by Suor Maria Celeste to her father. Sadly, the letters written by Galileo in response no longer exist. Sobel uses these letters of Suor Maria Celeste, combines them with history, and reveals the story about a great man and his beloved daughter. Science and mathematics permeate the book; however, Sobel writes Galileo¿s Daughter in a style that even liberal arts types will enjoy reading. At the end of the book, she tells us how Galileo is posthumously venerated; and, she shares a beautiful truth about the final resting-place of Suor Maria Celeste that brought tears to my eyes. I believe it will to yours too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2001

    Galileo is brought to life by a tale of science and devotion

    This story of the personal and scientific life of Galileo centers around both his work and his letters from his daughter. We get to see a side of Galileo that is ignored in other books. He makes discoveries in astronomy and physics that are the equal of any scientist to come. His concern for his family is always present throughtout.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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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 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 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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