Brief Candle in the Dark Summary and Reviews

Brief Candle in the Dark

My Life in Science

by Richard Dawkins

Brief Candle in the Dark by Richard Dawkins X
Brief Candle in the Dark by Richard Dawkins
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2015
    464 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

In this hugely entertaining sequel to the New York Times bestselling memoir An Appetite for Wonder, Richard Dawkins delves deeply into his intellectual life spent kick-starting new conversations about science, culture, and religion and writing yet another of the most audacious and widely read books of the twentieth century - The God Delusion.

Called "one of the best nonfiction writers alive today" (Stephen Pinker) and a "prize-fighter" (Nature), Richard Dawkins cheerfully, mischievously, looks back on a lifetime of tireless intellectual adventure and engagement. Exploring the halls of intellectual inquiry and stardom he encountered after the publication of his seminal work, The Selfish Gene; affectionately lampooning the world of academia, publishing, and television; and studding the pages with funny stories about the great men and women he's known, Dawkins offers a candid look at the events and ideas that encouraged him to shift his attention to the intersection of culture, religion, and science. He also invites the reader to look more closely at the brilliant succession of ten influential books that grew naturally out of his busy life, highlighting the ideas that connect them and excavating their origins.

On the publication of his tenth book, the smash hit, The God Delusion, a "resounding trumpet blast for truth" (Matt Ridley), Richard Dawkins was catapulted from mere intellectual stardom into a circle of celebrity thinkers dubbed, "The New Atheists" - including Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, and Daniel Dennett.

Throughout A Brief Candle in the Dark, Dawkins shares with us his infectious sense of wonder at the natural world, his enjoyment of the absurdities of human interaction, and his bracing awareness of life's brevity: all of which have made a deep imprint on our culture.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Not surprisingly, Dawkins lives up to his reputation as one who attacks his opponents mercilessly, whether the attacks are warranted or not. He once again targets the Templeton Foundation, with its mission to reconcile science and religion, and dismisses the burgeoning field of epigenetics as a "fad, enjoying its 15 minutes of pop science voguery." Despite these flaws, Dawkins offers great insight into the nature of science and introduces readers to many of the major players responsible for creating the field of evolutionary biology." - Publishers Weekly

"Dawkins, a convincing speaker and writer, is in some circles considered controversial for challenging religious viewpoints. This work provides a welcome companion to his previous books. New readers looking to acquaint themselves with Dawkins's research on religion and evolutionary biology should start with his prize-winning works The God Delusion or The Selfish Gene." - Library Journal

"Though the narrative could have used some pruning, the author provides an entertaining portrait of his life and times, including the quaint customs still in practice at Oxford. An impressive overview of Dawkins' life's work, written with the freshness of youthful vigor." - Kirkus

"This is the Richard Dawkins I have come to know and respect as a friend, colleague, and fellow traveler. For those who want some insight into the true nature of the man behind The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, this book is sure to please, and perhaps surprise." - Lawrence M. Krauss, author of The Physics of Star Trek, and A Universe from Nothing.

"Richard always writes like he's telling you a story, which is why so many of us non-science people understand science better than we used to. But when the story is his own life, it's doubly compelling." - Bill Maher

"Brief Candle in the Dark provides so many pleasures: the searing clarity of scientific insights and explanations; the depth of wit and width of erudition; a prose which can soar to poetry while never losing its accuracy; an inspired delight in the beauty of nature's ways." - Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won't Go Away

"Brief Candle in the Dark gives future historians [Dawkins'] pathway to greatness that begins with the publication of his monumental The Selfish Gene and climaxes with the book that may do more to elevate atheism to a legitimate position than any that came before, whose impact reverberates still." - Michael Shermer, Publisher of Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist at Scientific American, author of The Moral Arc

"Sometimes funny, sometimes fascinating, and always interesting, Dawkins takes us through his later years, revealing the humanity behind the man like never before." - David Silverman, President of American Atheists, Inc.

"You don't have to be a scientist to appreciate how deeply Dawkins loves interpreting science for the rest of us in this remarkable book about his own life." - Herb Silverman is Distinguished Professor Emeritus, founder and president of the Secular Coalition for America, and author of Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt.

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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 ...

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