While Galileo Galilei was under house arrest, accused of heresy for his claim that the earth revolved around the sun, his daughter Virginia, a cloistered nun, proved to be her father's greatest source of strength through the difficult years of his trial and persecution. Winner of the Christopher Award and named a Notable Book of the Year by the ...Read MoreWhile Galileo Galilei was under house arrest, accused of heresy for his claim that the earth revolved around the sun, his daughter Virginia, a cloistered nun, proved to be her father's greatest source of strength through the difficult years of his trial and persecution. Winner of the Christopher Award and named a Notable Book of the Year by the "New York Times". Illustrations.Read Less
The story of Galileo's struggles with the church are nicely balanced by his relationship with his daughter and her own development into a strong woman. There is little drama--even his "trial" is reduced to transcript excerpts--but it it reflects an oddly current duel between science and religion.
Nov 3, 2011
This is an excellent book that I enjoy thoughrouly
Nov 5, 2010
Dava Sobel has written a beautiful biography about Galileo...she masterfully relives the religious and political battles surrounding his findings and discoveries...and his daughter's letters will make you sit back in awe at the beauty of her writings to her father.
Publishers Weekly, 1999-07-19 Despite its title, this impressive book proves to be less the story of Galileo's elder daughter, the oldest of his three illegitimate children, and more the story of Galileo himself and his trial before the Inquisition for arguing that Earth moves around the Sun. That familiar tale is given a new slant by Sobel's translation?for the first time into English?of the 124 surviving letters to Galileo by his daughter, Suor Maria Celeste, a Clarisse nun who died at age 33; his letters to her are lost, presumably destroyed by Maria Celeste's convent after her death. Her letters may not in themselves justify a book; they are devout, full of pious love for the father she addresses as "Sire," only rarely offering information or insight. But Sobel uses them as the accompaniment to, rather than the core of, her story, sounding the element of faith and piety so often missing in other retellings of Galileo's story. For Sobel shows that, in renouncing his discoveries, Galileo acted not just to save his skin but also out of a genuine need to align himself with his church. With impressive skill and economy, she portrays the social and psychological forces at work in Galileo's trial, particularly the political pressures of the Thirty Years' War, and the passage of the plague through Italy, which cut off travel between Florence, where Galileo lived, and Rome, the seat of the Pope and the Inquisition, delaying Galileo's appearance there and giving his enemies time to conspire. In a particularly memorable way, Sobel vivifies the hard life of the "Poor Clares," who lived in such abject poverty and seclusion that many were driven mad by their confinement. It's a wholly involving tale, a worthy follow-up (after four years) to Sobel's surprise bestseller, Longitude. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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