Galileo has almost become a cliche, a cipher for the debatable war between science and religion. A number of writers have questioned the location of this conventional dichotomy in Galileo's struggles with the Roman Catholic Church, but none so brilliantly as Dava Sobel, through her unassuming story of the relationship between Galileo Galilei and his daughter (one of three illegitimate children), the Claretian nun Marie Celeste. Sobel translates for the first time 124 letters from Sister Marie to her father (the father's responses are apparently forever lost), and around these letters tells the story of Galileo the pious Catholic, trying to reconcile his discoveries with the teachings of his Church. Sobel has her science right, her history right, her storytelling just right. Her attention to the human dimension is the key to a more accurate texturing of a crucial but misunderstood fork in the road to modernity.
An Eighth Day View:
-- Also appeared on the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Publishers Weekly, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Independent, Wordstock, NCIBA, and Booksense bestseller lists
-- Winner of the Christopher Award and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award
-- Named a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, and the American Library Association
-- Longitude sold more than 300,000 copies in paperback and spent 25 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list
-- The Penguin edition features a stunning package with a beautiful step-back cover