The Magic of Reality: Book summary and reviews of The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins

The Magic of Reality

How We Know What's Really True

By Richard Dawkins

The Magic of Reality
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2011,
    272 pages.

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Book Summary

Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods' bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back - earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality - science.

Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.

Richard Dawkins, the world's most famous evolutionary biologist and one of science education's most passionate advocates, has spent his career elucidating the wonders of science for adult readers. But now, in a dramatic departure, he has teamed up with acclaimed artist Dave McKean and used his unrivaled explanatory powers to share the magic of science with readers of all ages. This is a treasure trove for anyone who has ever wondered how the world works. Dawkins and McKean have created an illustrated guide to the secrets of our world - and the universe beyond - that will entertain and inform for years to come.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. This book may be exactly what's needed to increase science literacy for readers of all ages." - Publishers Weekly

"I wanted to write this book but I wasn't clever enough. Now I've read it, I am." - Ricky Gervais

"Watch for this to be mooted and bruited in school board meetings to come. And score points for Dawkins, who does a fine job of explaining earthquakes and rainbows in the midst of baiting the pious." - Kirkus Reviews

"What a team to highlight the world's wondrous natural phenomena..." - Library Journal

"I am often asked to recommend good books on science for young people. From now on, I will not have to hesitate. The Magic of Reality provides a beautiful, accessible and wide ranging volume that addresses the questions that all of us have about the universe, separating often too-little known facts from too-frequently believed fictions. For this reason it should be a powerful resource for people of all ages, written with the masterful and eloquently literate style of perhaps the best popular expositor of science, Richard Dawkins, and delightfully illustrated by Dave McKean. What more could anyone ask for?" - Lawrence Krauss is Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University

"Exhilarating. The clearest and most beautifully written introduction to science I've ever read. ...Explanations I thought I knew were clarified; things I never understood were made clear for the first time." - Philip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy

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Author Information

Richard Dawkins Author Biography

Lalla Ward

Clinton Richard Dawkins was born in March 1941 in Nairobi, Kenya.  When he was eight his family moved to England where he attended Oundle School, and then Balliol College, Oxford, where he obtained a second class BA degree in zoology in 1962, followed by MA and DPhil degrees in 1966. 

He describes his childhood as "a normal Anglican upbringing", but he started to doubt the existence of God when he was about nine years old.  He later changed his opinion persuaded by the argument that a designer had been necessary to create the universe; however in his teens when he better understood evolution, he came to the conclusion that evolution could account for the complexity of life and that a designer was unnecessary.

For two years starting in 1967 ...

... Full Biography
Link to Richard Dawkins's Website

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