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Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel

Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel (unabridged audiobook read by George Guidall; 10 hrs 49 min on 9 discs): This is basically a biography of Galileo interspersed with letters from his devoted eldest daughter, a cloistered nun. The life story was of course quite fascinating, from his earliest publications to the trial by the Inquisition late in his life. His daughter’s letters, however, were less illuminating, consisting mostly of household minutiae and requests for money. Her repeated professions of love seemed to border on the passive aggressive, but I suppose that may have just been the translation. It’s too bad her father’s replies were lost; I would have liked to know what sorts of things he said to her. Still, this was a good overview of the life of a great man, and Sobel remains one of my favorite science writers.

A note on the audio: What can I say? It’s George Guidall. His name on a book guarantees it will be pleasantly listenable no matter what the subject matter. I know his voice well, and I appreciate that sort of consistency.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

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