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Extended Audio Sample Galileo: A Life, by James Reston Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (61 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: James Reston Narrator: Jeff Riggenbach Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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For the last four hundred years, Galileo has fascinated and inspired writers, theologians, playwrights, historians, and scientists. As the founder of modern science and the embodiment of the conflict between science and faith, Galileo remains the most fascinating figure of his age. Here James Reston, Jr., presents a lively, dramatic portrait of Galileo, one that not only takes us to the heart of this passionate, embattled, prickly, vain, arrogant, and brilliant man but also paints a vivid picture of Renaissance Italy, of its unparalleled cultural richness and political and religious intrigues. At the center of the story, of course, is Galileo’s discovery of the telescope, which revolutionized astronomy but put Galileo into conflict with the Catholic Church until 1633, when the Inquisition denounced him, banishing him for the last nine years of his life.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[Reston] recreates the era with immediacy by mining Galileo’s journals and letters for dialogue. The use of present tense gives the characters a magnified, flesh-and-blood presence that neatly balances with the Galileo legend.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Reston brings this star-gazing, intuitively intelligent, original, articulate, witty, theatrical, self-promoting, cash-poor, and nearly inexhaustible Italian Catholic to life in an involving and, yes, suspenseful narrative. Acquaintance with the facts does nothing to diminish the drama, and Reston’s zealous research…vivid descriptions, and frank indignation over the church’s appalling treatment of his hero enliven every page.”


  • “A well-rounded portrait…Successfully portrays Galileo’s world, with its colorful group of Renaissance Italians. Readily accessible, the book is an interesting character study and political biography of the great scientist.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Riggenbach conveys the drama of Galileo’s capitulation before the Inquisition—a scene of conflict between documented observation and accepted belief so vivid it could easily have taken place in today’s world instead of four centuries ago. Galileo’s was an exciting mind in an era of discovery and tumult, rendered distinctively in Riggenbach’s narration.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Ro | 7/23/2013

    " Fascinating biography of a genius... and interesting to read about the power and politics of the Vatican in suppressing Galileo's scientific discoveries! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Suzanne | 7/15/2013

    " So much I never knew about Galileo and the Church - very interesting reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Maggie | 6/5/2013

    " well done. what i enjoyed most were the way in which the details of galileo's life were presented: going forward as though we were living the unknown from galileo's perspective (rather than reflecting back with biases in place) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Tony | 5/25/2013

    " Reston covers a lot of diverse themes during his apologetic description of Galileo's papal conflict with his selling of science. "

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