Book Review / December 15, 2020
Book Review - The Last Man Who Knew Everything

The Last Man Who Knew Everything

Thomas Young, the Anonymous Polymath Who Proved Newton Wrong, Explained How We See, Cured the Sick, and Deciphered the Rosetta Stone, Among Other Feats of Genius
By: Andrew Robinson

Book Reivew

As I was reading this book, my reaction to it was mixed. I think Andrew Robinson did a good job in the introduction explaining why writing a biography of Thomas Young was so difficult. And so, I think that needs to be factored into understanding my responses as I read the book. However, to some degree I wonder if Robinson's reasoning was more of an excuse than a substantive reason. I can't say for sure because this is the only book I have read on Thomas Young. What is clear to me is that this book is not the same caliber of biographical work that I am used to.

As far as biographies go, this is a shorter one. So much about Thomas Young was left unsaid. What increases this mystery is the disproportionate amount of contributions across many different fields of study in which Thomas Young made critical contributions to. On the negative side of my mixed reactions is the fact that there is a lot of focus on the details about contributions that Thomas Young made. I was less interested in these details and more interested in the fabric of who Thomas Young was. My theory is that Robinson, because he could not give the details of who Young was, he filled in more details about what he contributed. What I did find interesting was the significant amount of controversy and conflict that Young was constantly involved in, and Robinson does a good job looking at the details of those.

Book Review / Dec 15
Book Review - The Last Man Who Knew Everything

The Last Man Who Knew Everything

Thomas Young, the Anonymous Polymath Who Proved Newton Wrong, Explained How We See, Cured the Sick, and Deciphered the Rosetta Stone, Among Other Feats of Genius
By: Andrew Robinson

Book Reivew

As I was reading this book, my reaction to it was mixed. I think Andrew Robinson did a good job in the introduction explaining why writing a biography of Thomas Young was so difficult. And so, I think that needs to be factored into understanding my responses as I read the book. However, to some degree I wonder if Robinson's reasoning was more of an excuse than a substantive reason. I can't say for sure because this is the only book I have read on Thomas Young. What is clear to me is that this book is not the same caliber of biographical work that I am used to.

As far as biographies go, this is a shorter one. So much about Thomas Young was left unsaid. What increases this mystery is the disproportionate amount of contributions across many different fields of study in which Thomas Young made critical contributions to. On the negative side of my mixed reactions is the fact that there is a lot of focus on the details about contributions that Thomas Young made. I was less interested in these details and more interested in the fabric of who Thomas Young was. My theory is that Robinson, because he could not give the details of who Young was, he filled in more details about what he contributed. What I did find interesting was the significant amount of controversy and conflict that Young was constantly involved in, and Robinson does a good job looking at the details of those.

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