The Book Nobody Read It was a rescue operation for an unlikely victim: 16th-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. After reading critic Arthur Koestler's almost casual dismissal of Copernicus' groundbreaking 1543… The Book Nobody Read It was a rescue operation for an unlikely victim: 16th-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. After reading critic Arthur Koestler's almost casual dismissal of Copernicus' groundbreaking 1543… History Nonfiction Science and Technology
Book Review

The Book Nobody Read (Spring 2004)

EW's GRADE
A-

Details Writer: Owen Gingerich; Genres: History, Nonfiction, Science and Technology

It was a rescue operation for an unlikely victim: 16th-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus. After reading critic Arthur Koestler's almost casual dismissal of Copernicus' groundbreaking 1543 tome ''De revolutionibus,'' Gingerich began his 30-year crusade to restore the reputation of the Polish-born genius who first challenged the long-held notion of an earth-centric universe. With indefatigable zeal, the Harvard prof set out to locate the 600 or so extant first and second printings of Copernicus' book -- finding that most were filled with the kinds of annotations that suggested heavy use. (Take that, Mr. Koestler!) Gingerich's travels took him around the world, bringing encounters with rare-book dealers, petty Communist Party officials, larcenous bibliophiles, and at least one hostile attorney. The result is an adventure book not of the white-knuckle variety, but with a genteel, satisfying tone all its own.

Originally posted Feb 27, 2004 Published in issue #753 Feb 27, 2004 Order article reprints
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