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The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing    edited by Richard Dawkins order for
Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing
by Richard Dawkins
Order:  USA  Can
Oxford University, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

Richard Dawkins, author of The Selfish Gene, The Ancestor's Tale, and The God Delusion, needs no introduction, having established himself as a reputable voice when discussing science in its many forms. His latest effort, The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, is a hefty tome in which Dawkins presents a concise view of science to the world in many short passages from different scientists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that tessellate together to form a beautiful volume of writing.

The book is divided into four parts, as Dawkins organizes the vast wealth of science writing available (not chronologically) in the following categories: What Scientists Study, Who Scientists Are, What Scientists Think, and What Scientists Delight In. Organizing it this ways serves to make the book entertaining in the variety of subjects that are presented when the book is read cover to cover. Should the reader want to use the book more as a reference tool or to look up specific authors or terms, there is a thorough index at the end. With each extract, Dawkins also offers up his own commentary and reason for choosing the specific piece.

All the great scientists make an appearance here: Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Francis Crick, Brian Greene, Jared Diamond, Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, Primo Levi, the list goes on and on. This list is not reserved only for the greats of science, but includes many women and men who have worked hard to further knowledge in areas such as genetics, evolution, string theory, relativity, and mathematics. The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing is a weighty, comprehensive book with almost everything science has had to offer in the last hundred years or so. While it may not be for the science novice, the ideas, theories, and hypotheses expressed in this book have reshaped science, and offered up hope for future answers and theories that will continue to change the world as we know it.

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