Celia A. (Takoma Park, MD)
Slow read, but worth it
The writing style tended to be more academic than your typical popular book, so it was occasionally slow going. The author tends to go off on tangents that, although they come back around to her four protagonists, could probably be deleted without hurting the book. Despite these minor flaws, I enjoyed reading this book about a part of the history of science that I know very little. I'm glad that I pushed through to the end.
Jerry W. (Waxhaw, NC)
Scholarly But Accessible
This scholarly but very accessible history of science in the early nineteenth century centers on four young Cambridge undergraduates, William Whewell, Charles Babbage, John Herschel, and Richard Jones, who meet for breakfast on Sundays in 1812 to discuss their passion for "natural philosophy" (science) and their equally strong passion to reform how science is done.
I found the book an enjoyable read, at first. It was informative, fascinating, and not difficult reading. However, about a 1/3 way through the book I lost much interest. Maybe it was me and not the book. Anyway, check it out. I could be just the book for you.
Diane S. (Batavia, IL)
the Philosophical Breakfast Club
Absolutely fascinating book about the birth of modern day scientists. Four friends who changed and invented everything from standardized testing to prison reform. They touched on so many different subjects. I just wish I could have attended some of their meetings. Very readable book that even non scientific people such as myself could relate to. I especially like that their personal lives were covered as well as their professional, made these brilliant men more human.
Vivian H. (Winchester, VA)
The Birth of Modern Science
This book is for anyone who has an interest in 19th Century history - not just scientific developments. Four men of quite different backgrounds met at Cambridge and came to believe in the Baconian view that scientific discovery should benefit humankind, make the lives of ordinary people better. It was fascinating for me to read about the dawn of modern economics and how the political arguments of the time echo the same arguments we have today about social welfare. I wanted to read this book because I have an interest in John Herschel and his contribution to early photography and astronomy. But this story is so much more...about lifelong friendships, the industrial revolution, the pursuit of knowledge and scientific discovery through experimentation. This book is accessible for non scientists such as myself, is well written and gives amazing insights into the birth of modern science.
Mary Ellen (Canfield, OH)
The Philosophical Breakfast Club
The Philosophical Breakfast Club fulfills its promotional materials as a vivid portrait of four extraordinary men of 19th century science. The author has done extensive research into the details of their personal lives and scientific contributions, however occasionally these details were distracting. The four friends lived in an exciting time in scientific development and were instrumental in its progress. Laura Snyder gives us a renewed appreciation of this. If you have an interest in science, this is a must read.
Penny P. (Santa barbara, Calif)
A look at science
Not having much background (or interest) in science, it took a couple of attempts to get into this book. Once I did,it was fairly easy to understand and was pretty interesting.The writing was good and did a good job of providing a historic perspective. I know more about the subject than I did before so that is a good thing. I have a friend that is interested in science and I know she will appreciate the book.
Deb Y. (Blanco, TX)
The Philosophical Breakfast Club is well written and very easy to read, even for a truly science-challenged person such as I. Laura Snyder has taken the subject and made it worth a read (even if you care nothing about philosophy/scientists), as it involves much, much more. Please read it when you have some time to sit and savor...