The Ancestor’s Tale – R. Dawkins (plus) The Road To Reality – R. Penrose

Was at a meeting this morning in the centre of Belfast so I popped into Waterstones bookshop to pick up a copy of Roger Penrose’s “The Road to Reality“. Got that okay. We will get to that presently.

Sitting proudly in the Just Published section was Richard Dawkins “The Ancestor’s Tale“. So I got a copy of that as well. All I can say is “Wow!!”

First impressions; this is a beautiful book. The production quality is superb. It’s 528 pages long. Between A4 and A5 in size, hardback, excellent paper quality. All that’s fine and dandy but “what about the content?” I hear you cry.

Well since I only had 30 minutes at lunchtime to peruse it, I obviously can’t address the content. All I can say is the bits I’ve dipped into are very well written. Some stats –

There are 487 picture credits, most are excellent full colour photos or diagrams. There are 327 references in the bibliography. These are for books and primary research papers. There is an 11 page index. There is a further reading section that recommends 13 books and an advanced further reading section that recommends 4 additional books.

I can’t wait to get my pending exams out of the way to get into this big time. I think this might be Dawkins’ “What Evolution is”. His Magnum Opus on evolution. Buy this book! For the record sections of it are coauthored with Dawkins’ Research Assistant, Yan Wong

But what about “The Road to Reality”? I’ll get back to you in 5 years or so!
Very dense text. Very mathematical. This is no popular science book in the “Brief history of time” mold. About 1100 pages. I’m going to have to learn a lot of maths to make progress in this. I fully expect to be reading this book on and off for 5 or 10 years.

Right. Back to exam revision. Books on shelf until those are out of the way. Who wants to bet the Dawkins book will sidetrack me a few times over the next 4 weeks?