The Day the Universe Changed
In The Day the Universe Changed, James Burke examines eight periods in history when our view of the world shifted dramatically: in the eleventh century, when extraordinary discoveries were made by Spanish crusaders; in fourteenth-century Florence, where perspective in painting emerged; in the fifteenth century, when the advent of the printing press shook the foundations of an oral society; in the sixteenth century, when gunnery developments triggered the birth of modern science; in the early eighteenth century, when hot English summers brought on the Industrial Revolution; in the battlefield surgery stations of the French revolutionary armies, where people first became statistics; in the nineteenth century, when the discovery of dinosaur fossils led to the theory of evolution; and in the 1820s, when electrical experiments heralded the end of scientific certainty. Based on the popular television documentary series, The Day the Universe Changed is a bestselling history that challenges the reader to decide whether there is absolute knowledge to discover - or whether the universe is "ultimately what we say it is."

The Day the Universe Changed Details

TitleThe Day the Universe Changed
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 1st, 1995
PublisherBack Bay Books
ISBN-139780316117043
Rating
GenreScience, History, Nonfiction, Philosophy, History Of Science, Technology

The Day the Universe Changed Review

  • Douglas Bittinger
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely *love* this book. It may well be the only non-fiction book that I have ever said this about, but I found so much entertainment as well as a wealth of education in it that it deserves this banner. Mr Burke takes historically significant moments - some I knew about and some I didn't - and shows us just how these moments turned the entire Universe of knowledge on it's ear. Even if we didn't see it at the time. It is very thought provoking and really opened my eyes to the stodgy way we I absolutely *love* this book. It may well be the only non-fiction book that I have ever said this about, but I found so much entertainment as well as a wealth of education in it that it deserves this banner. Mr Burke takes historically significant moments - some I knew about and some I didn't - and shows us just how these moments turned the entire Universe of knowledge on it's ear. Even if we didn't see it at the time. It is very thought provoking and really opened my eyes to the stodgy way we now think and assume that the "known scientific facts" are irrefutable. What delightful vanity!
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    I believe this was the companion book to the wonderful PBS Series of the same title hosted by James Burke (in the 1980's). In it, he pinpoints pinnacle points in scientific history that changed the world as we know it (hopefully you weren't reading that last sentence aloud).What I love most about this book is that Mr Burke understands that no Scientific "discovery" or theory actually drops from a tree like Newton's apple (no matter how tasty that apple is). He does a wonderful job rewinding from I believe this was the companion book to the wonderful PBS Series of the same title hosted by James Burke (in the 1980's). In it, he pinpoints pinnacle points in scientific history that changed the world as we know it (hopefully you weren't reading that last sentence aloud).What I love most about this book is that Mr Burke understands that no Scientific "discovery" or theory actually drops from a tree like Newton's apple (no matter how tasty that apple is). He does a wonderful job rewinding from the point of "discovery" to illuminate the culture and people who came before to create just the right atmosphere for "discovery" (I swear I'm going to stop putting that word in quotations). He also carries the narrative long after the discovery to show us the effects it's still having on us today.We are (in many ways) children of these discoveries. We are able to imagine a Universe where Earth is not the center because of men like Copernicus and Galileo, and that notion changes our point of view. More controversially, men like Darwin have shown us a Universe where "Man" is not the center, and this point of view upsets some people so much that they cannot live in such a world (and so deny it's existence even to this day).These are but two examples from the book. I'm always surprised it isn't required reading in all colleges (perhaps it isn't boring enough), but then-- what do I know? Perhaps there are better text books out there. I just can't imagine them.
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  • Cara
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't like this book because James Burke has a huge underlying bias: There is no real truth. I do agree with his idea that our perspective and beliefs shape the way we see the world, and that science and knowledge of the world influences how we see the world around us. Ironically, the reason I didn't like his book is his own bias against Christianity. Burke seems to portray the idea that since our understanding of the truth is always changing, we cannot rely on our beliefs and that there is n I didn't like this book because James Burke has a huge underlying bias: There is no real truth. I do agree with his idea that our perspective and beliefs shape the way we see the world, and that science and knowledge of the world influences how we see the world around us. Ironically, the reason I didn't like his book is his own bias against Christianity. Burke seems to portray the idea that since our understanding of the truth is always changing, we cannot rely on our beliefs and that there is no real truth. He talks about the christian belief as an ancient belief that no longer has any place in our enlightened times - this seems to be his whole underlying theme. I am using this book as a reference to show that it is important to get different perspectives on historical event: for, his portrayal of the history of Galileo and Darwin and Luther in their stories with the world and influence on the Church is different than the story given from the Catholic perspective. He applauds Darwin for helping to overcome the lies in the church, so that we could do away with the christian religion altogether. Different Historical accounts will have different things they look at, different viewpoints and biases, so it is good to get many perspectives and accounts. This is a good example of why we should read about different perspectives of historic events in order to get a better picture and make our own judgement.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    The book is a companion to the 1980s BBC series by James Burke, The Day The Universe Changed. Burke episodically walks us through some of the turning points in the development and educational evolution of man. The BBC series (shown on PBS in the 80's) is enlightening, provocative, and very entertaining. The book, however, is dry by comparison, and lacks Burke's personal entertaining style and wit.You can see the BBC series on Youtube; you can also buy the DVD set for home TV viewing, about $100 The book is a companion to the 1980s BBC series by James Burke, The Day The Universe Changed. Burke episodically walks us through some of the turning points in the development and educational evolution of man. The BBC series (shown on PBS in the 80's) is enlightening, provocative, and very entertaining. The book, however, is dry by comparison, and lacks Burke's personal entertaining style and wit.You can see the BBC series on Youtube; you can also buy the DVD set for home TV viewing, about $100 but worth it. It used to be available exclusively to educational institutions.
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    An absolute delight, and a must-have for anyone interested in history, science, or - most importantly - the history of science.I remember James Burke best from childhood, watching “Tomorrow’s World”, with its tag-team of Baxter, Burke, and Rodd - a sort of genteel, boffin’s equivalent of “Top Gear”’s Clarkson, May, and Hammond. From there, Burke moved on to solo series in which he abstrusely connected different discoveries to show their impact on the modern world. Prior to now, though, I had not An absolute delight, and a must-have for anyone interested in history, science, or - most importantly - the history of science.I remember James Burke best from childhood, watching “Tomorrow’s World”, with its tag-team of Baxter, Burke, and Rodd - a sort of genteel, boffin’s equivalent of “Top Gear”’s Clarkson, May, and Hammond. From there, Burke moved on to solo series in which he abstrusely connected different discoveries to show their impact on the modern world. Prior to now, though, I had not read any of his books.Burke is a supreme populariser of science, and eminently readable, to the point where this book is a real page-turner, with something fascinating on every page. The author’s squirrel mind leaps from topic to topic, linking and interweaving them all, so that seemingly isolated events are shown as being part of a giant matrix of cause and effect. His work in making science interesting for both layman and scientist alike places him alongside the great Carl Sagan (not something I say of many writers).Burke does not shy away from scientific controversies, nor does he suggest that what we now think of as scientific ‘truth” is totally accurate. In fact, in the book’s final chapter, he goes so far as to point out how much scientific exploration and discovery has been dictated by the social and political mores of the times in which the work took place. He is also frequently equivocal about the good and bad points which science - or more particularly, its adherents - can evoke. The book is even-handed in its treatment of science and religion to a surprising extent; similarly it does not mock early attempts at understanding the universe by philosophers, soothsayers, and astrologers. The author makes it clear that - although we have progressed far in our understanding - there is nothing which guarantees that our current scientific beliefs are any more true - they are simply the best fit for the evidence. In the final chapter, in fact, he drops the second shoe with his suggestion that our highly vaunted modern science may be no more accurate or definitive than the “sciences” which preceded it - renaissance science, hermeticism, and religion - as all of them have been shaped by the times and culture in which they were created. They become structures on which to hang phenomena, but in order to truly progress, sometimes a structure has to be discarded or adapted, and that can, indeed, change our entire view of the universe. All in all, for its fascinating passage through history and the philosophy of science, its sheer readability, and the sense of excitement and wonder which the author imparts, the only reason I am giving this book five stars is that it’s impossible to give it six. One of the best popular science books I have ever read.
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  • Jason X
    January 1, 1970
    Burke quickly covers a wide period of history, philosophy, religion, and science, hitting mostly highlights. Burke's closing summation is outstanding. At the close, Burke ties everything together elegantly, leaving the reader with unanswered questions, but still satisfied. I especially connected with his observation that our current structures for explaining reality are limited by contemporary methods, truths, and instruments. That we all live a contemporary truth to be replaced is, to me, a fin Burke quickly covers a wide period of history, philosophy, religion, and science, hitting mostly highlights. Burke's closing summation is outstanding. At the close, Burke ties everything together elegantly, leaving the reader with unanswered questions, but still satisfied. I especially connected with his observation that our current structures for explaining reality are limited by contemporary methods, truths, and instruments. That we all live a contemporary truth to be replaced is, to me, a fine place to be. That keeps me hopeful for the future and that the World can be a better place. If Burke's claim that discovery is invention and knowledge is man-made, then we are limited only by our imagination.Audiobook grade B-. Burke is a fine professorial narrator. Like other Overdrive recordings, there were audio glitches.
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  • Susannah
    January 1, 1970
    Burke is a very clear, concise and intelligent writer who carefully chooses the events he believes to be the most signal in changing our understanding of the way the universe works. He ends his book with the thesis that since all facts and information are filtered through the societal understanding of the people who look for and interpret them, truth itself is relative, and the way we understand the universe today is not necessarily the final say. In fact, history would suggest that another chan Burke is a very clear, concise and intelligent writer who carefully chooses the events he believes to be the most signal in changing our understanding of the way the universe works. He ends his book with the thesis that since all facts and information are filtered through the societal understanding of the people who look for and interpret them, truth itself is relative, and the way we understand the universe today is not necessarily the final say. In fact, history would suggest that another change is coming. Supported by examples, though necessarily a top-level view, this book is a terrific overview of how "truth" itself can vary with new discovery and comprenhension.
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  • Justyna Staroń-Kajkowska
    January 1, 1970
    I cannot really tell what is the purpose of this book. If you are ignorant, you won't get any better understanding, besides few anecdotes served on some surreal plate, that will try convince you, that every discovery was just blind luck without any reason (in one place of the book it is even directly stated). If you already have basic knowledge of given subject, you won't get any better information. It is just quick jumping on various discoveries with uneven attention (indexing is explained in d I cannot really tell what is the purpose of this book. If you are ignorant, you won't get any better understanding, besides few anecdotes served on some surreal plate, that will try convince you, that every discovery was just blind luck without any reason (in one place of the book it is even directly stated). If you already have basic knowledge of given subject, you won't get any better information. It is just quick jumping on various discoveries with uneven attention (indexing is explained in details, but discoveries in physics are barely touched). Huge minus for almost omitting XIX and XX century discoveries (very brief summary of electromagnetism and relativity) and those centuries define our current life.I understand, the author is not physicist, but feeling that he has no idea, what he is writing about, made me convinced that I am reading some high school essay retyped poorly from Wikipedia. Long sentences, that sometimes lead who-knows where, cut off relations between subjects in the middle of the chapter, I didn't like that.Last chapter is just pure chaos - it looks like summary of previous chapters, then it moves into "there is no truth" wild assumptions and interpretations, then injects some new discoveries in the end. Weird, looks like unedited notes.Not worth any minute of your life, unless you want to write a PhD thesis explaining its high rating.
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  • Joseph Carrabis
    January 1, 1970
    There is little doubt (to me) that James Burke is the God of How This Led To That. If you haven't seen or read Connections, add it to your must read/watch list as quickly as you can (and follow up by watching/reading). He followed up Connections with The Day the Universe Changed and it was an equally worthy read and watch.I do not recommend Connections II and III. Marketing got involved (something Burke even mentioned in an interview).But Connections and The Day the Universe Changed are excellen There is little doubt (to me) that James Burke is the God of How This Led To That. If you haven't seen or read Connections, add it to your must read/watch list as quickly as you can (and follow up by watching/reading). He followed up Connections with The Day the Universe Changed and it was an equally worthy read and watch.I do not recommend Connections II and III. Marketing got involved (something Burke even mentioned in an interview).But Connections and The Day the Universe Changed are excellent. Want to know how we got computers? Burke shows how an incident in the Fertile Crescent was necessary for computers to exist. Want to know how we got Television? Burke demonstrates how a the discovery of Lodestone made it possible.Read them. Learn. Enjoy!
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  • Ashley Armstrong
    January 1, 1970
    I grew up watching James Burke's science programmes on TV in the 1970s and 1980s, and this series from 1984 I remember particularly well.Since embarking on a study project of my own devise last year, into Renaissance art, culture and history, I recalled one of the programmes from the aforesaid series covering the geometry of linear perspective, and after reading a book about Brunelleschi and the construction of the octagonal dome of Florence cathedral, the pieces of memory fell fully into place. I grew up watching James Burke's science programmes on TV in the 1970s and 1980s, and this series from 1984 I remember particularly well.Since embarking on a study project of my own devise last year, into Renaissance art, culture and history, I recalled one of the programmes from the aforesaid series covering the geometry of linear perspective, and after reading a book about Brunelleschi and the construction of the octagonal dome of Florence cathedral, the pieces of memory fell fully into place. I was able to find the episode in question, aptly entitled 'Point of View' online, and shortly thereafter tracked down a secondhand copy of Burke's splendid book, long out of print now.
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  • Rob Mills
    January 1, 1970
    I had just read Connections, so probably just a bit too much James Burke over a two month period. Very interesting stuff, as expected, and a fairly enjoyable read. The last chapter helps contextualise the point he's driving at and I sort of feel I should have read it first! A colleague told me this was a TV series, so perhaps if I had watched it at the same time I would have understood the overal idea a bit better and read more out of all the stories. Important arguments and well documented, imp I had just read Connections, so probably just a bit too much James Burke over a two month period. Very interesting stuff, as expected, and a fairly enjoyable read. The last chapter helps contextualise the point he's driving at and I sort of feel I should have read it first! A colleague told me this was a TV series, so perhaps if I had watched it at the same time I would have understood the overal idea a bit better and read more out of all the stories. Important arguments and well documented, important stuff and actually sort of pairs well with Sapies/Homo Deus.
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  • Maynard Handley
    January 1, 1970
    Nothing new here.If you're unfamiliar with the history of science, I guess this is a fairly quick summary. But for anyone who knows anything about this material, there's nothing new here --- no original insights, no unexpected reframing of issues. A reasonable book to give to a friend who wants to know this material, but nothing more than that.
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  • Xanthippe
    January 1, 1970
    Prolly as good as the 1985 Beeb production. Although the final line in the series trumps the book's.Series: 'If the world is as we say it is... then say!'It encapsulates the message perfectly.
  • Todd Gilbert
    January 1, 1970
    this book absolutely changed the way I perceived the Universe and humanity. One of the top three most influential books in my life.
  • Glenda Osnach
    January 1, 1970
    We have this in hard cover, I'll have to re read. This was a fantastic BBC TV Series with the same name we watched in the '80's.
  • Andrey Voev
    January 1, 1970
    Great overview and insightsThe only issue I've had with this book is that sometimes gets hard to read, and it seems convoluted.Great content and conclusions though, I loved it.
  • kartik narayanan
    January 1, 1970
    “The Day the Universe Changed” examines the history of science. James Burke talks us through various periods in our history starting from the 11th century on and shows us the evolution of science in various fields. These fields range from medicine to astronomy, relativity to natural history and so on.The chapters/subjects covered are below.The Way We Are: It Started with the GreeksIn the Light of the Above: Medieval Conflict – Faith & ReasonPoint of View: Scientific Imagination in the Renais “The Day the Universe Changed” examines the history of science. James Burke talks us through various periods in our history starting from the 11th century on and shows us the evolution of science in various fields. These fields range from medicine to astronomy, relativity to natural history and so on.The chapters/subjects covered are below.The Way We Are: It Started with the GreeksIn the Light of the Above: Medieval Conflict – Faith & ReasonPoint of View: Scientific Imagination in the RenaissanceA Matter of Fact: Printing Transforms KnowledgeInfinitely Reasonable: Science Revises the HeavensCredit Where It’s Due: The Factory & Marketplace RevolutionWhat the Doctor Ordered: Social Impacts of New Medical KnowledgeFit to Rule: Darwin’s RevolutionMaking Waves: The New Physics – Newton RevisedWorlds Without End: Changing Knowledge, Changing RealityThis book is based on the BBC series, presented by James Burke, in the 1980s, which covered the same topics. The series is available on YouTube.James Burke clearly demonstrates how we have moved from “Credo ut intelligam” ((I come to understanding only through belief) to “intelligo ut credam” (belief can come only through understanding). This is a fundamental shift in human behaviour. James Burke shows us how the tiniest innovation in one field by one person influenced or created a whole new area of science. In addition, There are tons of fascinating titbits which are interspersed in this book. This book opens up our mind to new concepts and help us appreciate how the various fields in science have come about in existence.James Burke is a noted science historian who has written a slew of brilliant non-fiction books. I particularly loved ‘Changes’ which might be a more accessible book to the average person than this one.I would highly recommend this book to all. If you are interested in science, this book is a must-read. If you find it hard to read, please watch the videos instead. I would put them on the same level as Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.
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  • Malea
    January 1, 1970
    History is not defined by the things that happen; it is defined by what causes things to happen. The book, The Day the Universe Changed, by James Burke, explores those moments of change, that have occurred throughout history. Most of the changes examined by the author, at first glance, seem out of place, and even irrelevant. However, every change discussed in this book is part of a bigger picture: their presence in our modern world. This book explains that although our world is incredibly differ History is not defined by the things that happen; it is defined by what causes things to happen. The book, The Day the Universe Changed, by James Burke, explores those moments of change, that have occurred throughout history. Most of the changes examined by the author, at first glance, seem out of place, and even irrelevant. However, every change discussed in this book is part of a bigger picture: their presence in our modern world. This book explains that although our world is incredibly different than it was just 600 years ago, this is only because of the change, produced by historical events, that occurs every day. Burke expresses that whether the change be political, economic, religious, social, or intellectual, it is nonetheless change, and every occurrence is equally important to how our world operates in the present. These small changes are often overlooked. However, these are the changes that Burke shares with the reader in an effort to give credit where it’s due. I think that Burke makes the history that he discusses a bit more interesting to the reader by making it more relatable and connecting it to the present world, which I found to be a very refreshing take on a history book. I only gave it four stars because I found Burke to be a little repetitive sometimes.
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  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    A good read, and is right in line with what I was hoping for.The book itself is a history of science, and looks at various moments in history when some event either shaped subsequent history, or how larger changes came about.For example, there's a section on medicine and physicians. Initially, physicians are highly educated experts who horde their private knowledge of remedies, and have limited to no accountability for their talent in treating various diseases and ailments. Fast forward to a cou A good read, and is right in line with what I was hoping for.The book itself is a history of science, and looks at various moments in history when some event either shaped subsequent history, or how larger changes came about.For example, there's a section on medicine and physicians. Initially, physicians are highly educated experts who horde their private knowledge of remedies, and have limited to no accountability for their talent in treating various diseases and ailments. Fast forward to a couple revolutions and wars, and you begin to have lower class physicians (i.e. surgeons), who begin needing to treat immense amounts of wounded people and begin sharing their knowledge to improve their practice. From these scenarios, you see the beginning of schools that focus on hands-on training and sharing knowledge to the benefit of patients. Throughout this process, treatment of disease moves from patient-led to physician-led, the benefit being physicians are able to prescribe a treatment against the wishes of someone who is ill, and refuses treatment, or is unable to see past short term costs for long term benefit.
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  • Dfordoom
    January 1, 1970
    Based on his TV series of the same name from the mid-1980s. It’s about the fundamental changes that have occurred in our understanding of how the world works, and the ways in which society has been changed as a result. Burke’s great gift is for connecting things (which is why I guess he called his later TV series Connections!) and I particularly like the way he weaves scientific and cultural change together in his accounts of the birth of modern medicine and the birth of modern geology and evolu Based on his TV series of the same name from the mid-1980s. It’s about the fundamental changes that have occurred in our understanding of how the world works, and the ways in which society has been changed as a result. Burke’s great gift is for connecting things (which is why I guess he called his later TV series Connections!) and I particularly like the way he weaves scientific and cultural change together in his accounts of the birth of modern medicine and the birth of modern geology and evolutionary theory. He shows how every advance in medicine, while undoubtedly doing an enormous amount of good, also had the effect of marginalising the patient, so you end up with doctors who are treating diseases rather than people. And his account of the rise of Social Darwinism, especially in Nazi Germany and the United States, shows just how easily and how fatally science can be abused and used to justify abhorrent social and economic policies. Many authors in the fields of both history and science have charted the links between science, history and politics, but James Burke was the first such author I encountered so I will always be grateful to him.
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  • Janet Zehr
    January 1, 1970
    James Burke has a view of history as a web of discoveries rather than a linear progression. This book follows that pattern. He takes us from the dark ages all the way to today. Progress is very limited at first, as people are isolated after the fall of the Roman Empire. There is no exchange of knowledge, and the Bible is the authority for belief in nature. Most people cannot read, so hearsay is how they obtain information. Gradually, there is more interchange of information as one after another, James Burke has a view of history as a web of discoveries rather than a linear progression. This book follows that pattern. He takes us from the dark ages all the way to today. Progress is very limited at first, as people are isolated after the fall of the Roman Empire. There is no exchange of knowledge, and the Bible is the authority for belief in nature. Most people cannot read, so hearsay is how they obtain information. Gradually, there is more interchange of information as one after another, advances in technology emerge. First, is the discovery of perspective, noted in art work of the time. Then, the book describes more and more progress. The printing press is a huge invention. People could now share ideas without meeting face to face. The chapter about medicine and sanitation is appalling. Thank God we have progressed beyond that!Finally, Mr. Burke brings us to the present with first electricity, then electromagnetism, last the Internet. Lots of interesting insights at each stage. A wonderful account of evolution of human society.
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  • John Doyle
    January 1, 1970
    The Day the Universe Changed is a companion book to a BBC series of the same name that was first aired in the mid-1980's. The stories of Galileo, the printing press, perspective in art and others that mark turning points in human history are fascinating to me every time I read about them so I enjoyed the book. However, the most striking takeaway this time was really the acceleration of change in just the last several hundred years. Our brains are wired to deal with (or impose) ordered, unchangin The Day the Universe Changed is a companion book to a BBC series of the same name that was first aired in the mid-1980's. The stories of Galileo, the printing press, perspective in art and others that mark turning points in human history are fascinating to me every time I read about them so I enjoyed the book. However, the most striking takeaway this time was really the acceleration of change in just the last several hundred years. Our brains are wired to deal with (or impose) ordered, unchanging context. For most of human history this was fine because not much changed in a lifetime and the consequences of mistakes were local in time and geography. Now, the half life of knowledge is shorter than it's ever been and the human cost of mismanaging modern challenges are unlimited. I am glad we have the internet to help us. ;-)
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  • Rick Ludwig
    January 1, 1970
    James Burke is one of my favorite non-fiction authors. I loved "Connections" and my favorite book of his was "The Pinball Effect". Unfortunately, "The Day the Universe Changed" let me down quite a bit. Oh, it still had some excellent scientific history and there were certainly no errors of fact. But the book seemed to lack some of the excitement of Burke's other works and was much less organized. The last chapter was especially nebulous and didn't seem to tie things up well at all. I will contin James Burke is one of my favorite non-fiction authors. I loved "Connections" and my favorite book of his was "The Pinball Effect". Unfortunately, "The Day the Universe Changed" let me down quite a bit. Oh, it still had some excellent scientific history and there were certainly no errors of fact. But the book seemed to lack some of the excitement of Burke's other works and was much less organized. The last chapter was especially nebulous and didn't seem to tie things up well at all. I will continue to read and enjoy James Burke's works, but I cannot honestly recommend this one very heartily.
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  • Shane
    January 1, 1970
    A good overview of the history of scientific development covering a broad range of history. A good read, but I enjoyed "The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science" more, but "wonder" is a more narrowly focused history. "changed" mentions some of what happens in "wonder" in passing.This seems to be based on the bbc documentary which is available on youtube and worth watching. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list...
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    non-fiction. Burke is awesome. Be careful, he looks at things from a perspective that I was not used to. Basically, he goes through history to review the series of events that led from one to another to be pivotal in creating the world we live in. I like him because he focuses on the individuals that were key and tells why they were so crucial. While this can be someone over simplifying, I tend to agree that history often boils down to specific people. Burke puts that individual face on the daun non-fiction. Burke is awesome. Be careful, he looks at things from a perspective that I was not used to. Basically, he goes through history to review the series of events that led from one to another to be pivotal in creating the world we live in. I like him because he focuses on the individuals that were key and tells why they were so crucial. While this can be someone over simplifying, I tend to agree that history often boils down to specific people. Burke puts that individual face on the daunting history of billions of people.
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  • Gary Turner
    January 1, 1970
    This book is excellent for what it was intended. Packed with historic facts, feats, stories and anecdotes. I just thoroughly enjoyed. I have given this book to many as a gift. I hope they will take the time to read. Do yourself a big favor and read this instead of watching the latest series of 'who done it'. On a side note, too bad 'California Chrome' had to race against those that did not participate in the 'triple crown'.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent and fascinating book. It took me quite a while to read it as it is pretty heavy material, but I definitely feel smarter for having done so. It looks and reads a lot like a history text (I actually had someone on the plane ask what period in history I was studying), but an interesting one! My only complaint is the poor punctuation editing -- the book would certainly be much easier to read were there more commas.
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  • Kathie
    January 1, 1970
    This is a book my father gave me 20 plus years ago. I began reading this book about a year ago and abandoned it for months and finally scanned the last 30 pages. I found the earlier sections more interesting than the last few chapters. Burke argues that when man's views of reality are changed by knowledge, reality itself changes. It makes one wonder, what or our "reality" of today will be proven to be very different in the future.
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  • Jan Priddy
    January 1, 1970
    I would prefer to watch the series, which I have watched many times, but the book is great as a companion. You will not find Burke's head poking unexpectedly into the frame and there are not the moments where you wonder, "How di he get permission to do that?" The book is good though and contains much of the script, though I have not watched and followed along. Someday I will do that. Anyway. The series is one of the greatest ever made and the book is excellent.
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  • DoctorM
    January 1, 1970
    James Burke is the very epitome of the obnoxious presenter. No question. But I did like both the TV series and book versions of "The Day The Universe Changed". The book is fun--- not analytically deep, of course, but a fun introduction to key events and key ideas that led to the construction of modernity and the modern scientific worldview. Worth reading--- and the series is worth renting, too.
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