An Appetite for Wonder
US edition cover
|12 September 2013 (United Kingdom and United States)|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Preceded by||The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True|
|Followed by||Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science|
An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist is the first volume of the autobiographical memoir by British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. The hardcover version of the book was published in both the United Kingdom and the United States on 12 September 2013, and covers Dawkins's childhood, youth, studies and early career up to the writing of The Selfish Gene. A second volume, Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science, covering the remaining part of his life, was released in September 2015.
Early reviews were mixed. Marek Kohn of The Independent newspaper described it as warm and generous, while Eric Liebetrau of the Boston Globe  states the book's title is "ultimately a misnomer, as much of the narrative is a slog." The satirical magazine Private Eye describes it as "profoundly irksome...colourless....The self-absorption is extraordinary." Instead of providing a reflective memoir Dawkins "huffs and harangues."  Leah Libresco, writing for First Things, finds the book "invites comparisons with C. S. Lewis’ Surprised by Joy. Both are memoirs by thinkers who seemed a little surprised to end up as apologists, much less as writers whom growing numbers would credit with their conversion or de-conversion."
In a review described in First Things as "withering," philosopher John Gray, writing in The New Republic, criticized the book's "tone of indulgent superiority" and "Dawkins' inveterate literal-mindedness," and commented that Dawkins "writes well – fluently, vividly, and at times with considerable power. But the ideas and the arguments that he presents are in no sense novel or original, and he seems unaware of the critiques of positivism that appeared in its Victorian heyday."
In The Independent, Brandon Robshaw describes the book as "[...] a generous appreciation and admiration of the qualities of others, as well as a transparent love of life, literature – and science".
Notes and references
- "'Revised title: An Appetite for Wonder". RichardDawkins.net. 9 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- "An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist (Hardcover)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
- The Independent. 27 September 2013.http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/book-review-an-appetite-for-wonder-the-making-of-a-scientist-by-richard-dawkins-8841760.html
- Boston Globe 30 September 2013 http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/books/2013/09/29/book-review-appetite-for-wonder-the-making-scientist-richard-dawkins/v1b2aDO4aQ35R5pKXyy6VN/story.html
- Beyond Belief. Private Eye no.1350. 4 October 2013. p27
- First Things "Incurious Dawkins" http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/03/incurious-dawkins
- First Things "Evangelical Atheism" http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/leithart/2014/10/evangelical-atheism
- The New Republic "The Closed Mind of Richard Dawkins" http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119596/appetite-wonder-review-closed-mind-richard-dawkins
- Brandon Robshaw, "Book review: An Appetite For Wonder, by Richard Dawkins. An insight beyond the caricature", The Independent, Saturday 14 September 2013.
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