For over fifty years Martin Gardner has been writing witty, entertaining, and highly intelligent articles on an amazing range of topics. Best known for his works on popular science and mathematics, and as an incisive skeptical commentator on the paranormal, Gardner is also an accomplished writer of children's literature, a novelist, and essayist on religion and philosophy. This collection of essays and book reviews takes its name from the bookend articles, "The Wandering Jew and the Second Coming" and "The Faith of William Buckley," which in themselves demonstrate the extent of Gardner's interests.
Besides the legend of the Wandering Jew, its relation to the Second Coming, and Bill Buckley's religious convictions, Gardner also takes on the subjects of astrology, psychic surgery, word play in the stories of L. Frank Baum (author of The Wizard of Oz), and the history of a forgotten children's magazine. In addition, there are reviews of books by astronomer Carl Sagan, philosopher Paul Edwards, and science fiction writer H. G. Wells, along with commentary on mathematics, Lewis Carroll, chess, Christian Science, science fads, and more.
Longtime Gardner fans and intellectually curious newcomers will welcome this entertaining and literate collection by one of America's most brilliant essayists.
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Martin Gardner, the creator of Scientific American’s "Mathematical Games" column, which he wrote for more than twenty-five years, is the author of almost one hundred books, including The Annotated Ancient Mariner, Martin Gardner’s Favorite Poetic Parodies, From the Wandering Jew to William F. Buckley Jr., and Science: Good, Bad and Bogus. For many years he was also a contributing editor to the Skeptical Inquirer.From Publishers Weekly:
Over his several decades of writing, Gardner has accomplished so much it's hard to believe there's just one of him. His 60-odd books have explained complex science and math, dissected UFOs and pseudoscience, analyzed and admired Alice in Wonderland, answered everyday questions about technology and collected 25 years of contributions to Scientific American's column "Mathematical Games." This compilation of previously published work adds postscripts and restores editorial cuts to 29 short essays and book reviews, reprinted from Skeptical Inquirer, Free Inquiry, Discover, the Los Angeles Times Book Review and elsewhere. Many pieces attack religious fundamentalists and claims of the supernatural, like the purported "psychic surgeons" from the Philippines. A three-part series examines the Seventh-Day Adventists and their breakaway sects, who set dates, since expired, for the apocalypse (the first Christians apparently did the same). Also in Gardner's sights are TV evangelists, Buckley's brand of Christianity and social constructionist theories of science and math. Readers who share Gardner's sentiments on all these matters may find his debunking essays repetitive, but they will turn with gratitude to his appreciations. The best of the essays and book reviews here are praiseAfor unjustly forgotten children's author and editor John Martin, for L. Frank Baum of Oz fame, for science-fiction editor and popular-science writer Hugo Gernsback, for H.G. Wells and for sharp-tongued Catholic novelist G.K. Chesterton, whose work Gardner knows inside and out. It is in these pieces that Gardner's readers will learnAas they may expect from him something new each time. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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