The Lying Stones of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History

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9780609807552: The Lying Stones of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History
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In his latest collection of essays, bestselling scientist Stephen Jay Gould once again offers his unmistakable perspective on natural history and the people who have tried to make sense of it. Gould is planning to bring down the curtain on his nearly thirty-year stint as a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine, the longest-running series of scientific essays in history. This, then, is the next-to-last essay collection from one of the most acclaimed and widely read scientists of our time. In this work of twenty-three essays, selected by Booklist as one of the top ten science and technology books of 2000, Gould covers topics as diverse as episodes in the birth of paleontology to lessons from Britain’s four greatest Victorian naturalists. The Lying Stones of Marrakech presents the richness and fascination of the various lives that have fueled the enterprise of science and opened our eyes to a world of unexpected wonders.

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Celebrated paleontologist and science writer Stephen Jay Gould has honed and matured his voice over almost 30 years of writing for Natural History. His tenure at that magazine closes with the end of the century, so The Lying Stones of Marrakech is his next-to-last collection of essays from this era. As ever, his works are clever, thoughtful, and inspiring; however, the longtime reader will detect a deeper reflection and a longer view taken by Gould in latter days, perhaps inevitable outcomes of experience and growth. The title essay refers to false fossils carved by Moroccans intent on making a few bucks off of hapless tourists, discusses the case of Beringer's 18th-century fossil hoax, and ends with a plea for a stricter separation between commercial and scientific interests--showing the breadth and scope of his paleontological interests and thinking.

Of course, he also has much to say beyond the confines of his profession: Joe DiMaggio and Dolly the sheep each get respectful treatment from the Gould pen, and he discusses the competing Christian groups sharing the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Though his attitudes may have mellowed over time--he's far from the crotchety oldster some feared he'd become--his passion for knowledge and scientific freedom is still radiant. Whether you're an old-school fan of Gould's writings or a newcomer to his delightfully brainy essays, you'll find The Lying Stones of Marrakech a joy to behold. --Rob Lightner

From the Back Cover:

“[Gould’s] passionate commitment to precision and his sensitivity to the little wriggles of a million might have beens’ make The Lying
Stones of Marrakech
not just accessible but stimulating as well.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Vintage Gould: stimulating, erudite, and eminently enjoyable.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This collection evinces no dimming of Gould’s humanistic brilliance.”
Booklist

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9780609601426: The Lying Stones of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History

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Publisher: Harmony, 2000
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