“Martínez not only rigorously compares the exciting myths about Pythagoras with the sparse, and mostly contradictory, historical sources, he also explains why we have these myths and the purposes they serve. His book will be a natural first port of call for people who like to get this sort of thing right.“
Jeremy Gray, The Open University
“Mathematics is the last subject one would expect to be infested with mythology, but even mathematicians can fall for myths, particularly those concerning the history of their subject. In this delightful exposé, Alberto Martínez finally busts the many myths of math, and the results are both sobering and fascinating.”
John C. Stillwell, University of San Francisco
“An engaging study.”
“Martinez explains concepts like ‘imaginary numbers’ and ‘velocity calculation’ in a manner that makes them easy for even a non-math person to understand. . . . Discussions of complex mathematical concepts are where Martinez shines. . . . An unexpectedly engaging book on a subject often considered very dry. While the book will certainly be of interest to students and scholars of math, Martinez has situated the subject in broader themes of human nature in a way that will appeal to a much wider audience.”
Texas Books in Review
“Serves to set the record straight for two potential audiences. First, for those of us who consider ourselves knowledgeable about the history of mathematics, this book aims to shake us out of our naivety by forcing us to reexamine how we know what we know and how we should distinguish fact from the fiction that so often substitutes for a proper history of mathematics. Second for those who are not familiar with the history of mathematics, this book provides a compilation of historical examples that portrays mathematical knowledge as fluid, controversial, and ever evolving.”
"Mathematics teachers and lecturers and graduate students in mathematics would benefit from reading this book, as that would help them become more aware of the issues, uncertainties, and challenges surrounding knowledge about the history of mathematics, which at the outset may appear unproblematic to some. Increased awareness can then lead to reflection on, and possible re-thinking of, pedagogical practices related to the role of history in mathematics teaching and learning."
Springer Science+Business Media
"An enjoyable read. Rather than simply discounting one-by-one the myths of many of us have heard, the author instead attempts to explain how each myth has taken such a long journey away from truth. Martínez describes this work as being 'about the evolution of myths in the history of mathematics.' But he has accomplished more than that. Not only does he determine HOW stories develop into myths, he also often succeeds in an attempt to explain WHY. At the very least, he encourages us to stop their spread, as 'hearsay and fictions contaminate education by masquerading as history."
American Mathematical Monthly