For reviews of Ockham's Razor, click here.

Galileo's Mistake - A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church by Wade Rowland

Praise for Galileo's Mistake:

"...fresh and compelling."
Vancouver Sun

"a fascinating read"
Philadelphia Inquirer

"Well-presented scientific history with an interesting philosophical twist"
Kirkus Reviews

"Rowland's is an audacious position"
The New York Times

"With easy erudition...Competently laying out the science and the overarching philosophical issues, Rowland shows that Galileo's "mistake" was his failure to recognize the larger implications of his position."
Boston Herald

"gripping story of Galileo's trial"
International Herald Tribune

"Rowland's triumph is in examining Galileo's method over his facts and winning an argument that was lost more than 350 years ago. His book provides a fascinating contribution to a debate that is particularly germane today and is likely to be equally important 300 years from now."
Montreal Gazette

"I recommend it strongly. Rowland tells the story well and with style and...backed by serious research and sensitivity to the issues. The history is embedded in a modern-day travelogue, interspersed with musings about the meaning of life."
The Globe and Mail

"Rowland does an impressive job of bringing the 17th century to life...he builds a compelling case that Galileo and the Church differed over something far more important than whether the earth revolved around the sun-they differed on the very nature of truth and how mortals can come to know it."
Publishers Weekly

"An excellent mixture of science and philosophy."
David Pitt, Bookloons

"Galileo's Mistake is a lofty and ambitious philosophical exploration, and Rowland's considerable gifts as a writer make the book pleasurable and captivating. Rowland skilfully weaves history, biography, science writing, and philosophical overviews into the comfortable familiarity of a travel narrative."

"Galileo's Mistake has the lazy ease of a multi-course Italian dinner, at once relaxing and enriching".
Robert Wiersema, Quill & Quire

"...a superb work...an ambitious, even heroic, interpretation of the Galileo-Church controversy. Rowland has included a wonderfully accurate, exquisitely painted presentation of the political, cultural, and historical setting in which the Galileo-Church debate finds a clearly natural location."
B. J. Hodgson, PhD, Trent University Faculty of Philosophy



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Purchase Galileo's Mistake (US edition) online at: Amazon.com

REVIEWS OF GALILEO'S MISTAKE

Galileo's Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church

by Wade Rowland

  • The New York Times - Books of the Times Review

    "Rowland's is an audacious position... in 1992 the church itself admitted that it had erred in condemming Galileo. As headlines mockingly put it at the time, the Vatican had finally acknowledged that the Earth revolved around the Sun. But to Mr. Rowland such descriptions trvialize the real issues at stake in the conflict, namely the essential nature of the universe and which sphere - science or faith - can better grasp it."

    Book Review: The New York Times - Books of the Times Review

  • Publishers Weekly Book Review

    "Rowland does an impressive job of bringing the 17th century to life. ... he builds a compelling case that Galileo and the Church differed over something far more important than whether the earth revolved around the sun-they differed on the very nature of truth and how mortals can come to know it.

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by Publishers Weekly

  • Science News newsmagazine

    "Rowland recreates Galileo's trial...makes a case for the Church's role in the pursuit of truth today."

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by Science News newsmagazine

  • Boston Herald newspaper

    "With easy erudition...Competently laying out the science and the overarching philosophical issues"

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by the Boston Herald newspaper

  • Boston Globe newspaper, Sunday edition

    "Galileo's "mistake," according to this fascinating study, was not one of science or mathematics, philosophy or religion, but one of diplomacy."

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by the Boston Globe newspaper

  • The New York Times - Essay

    "Pushing this idea further...something far more interesting may have been at stake: a fight over the very nature of what is meant by a scientific theory."

    Read the full New York Times essay by George Johnson

  • Philadelphia Inquirer book review

    "Popular history recounts Galileo's 17th-century battle with Catholic leaders in stark terms. Galileo, good. Church, bad. But the image of an enlightened Galileo fighting for truth against the intolerant Catholic Church over astronomical concepts is far too simplistic, Wade Rowland writes in Galileo's Mistake."

    Read the complete book review of Galileo's Mistake by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

  • Palo Alto Weekly - New & Recommended Books

    "Galileo's Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation Between Galileo and the Church" by Wade Rowland is just that, and it may also lead to some historical revisionism. We all know that Galileo got in trouble with the Roman Catholic Church for propagating the argument that the earth revolved around the sun, instead of vice versa. According to the author, there were Jesuits who already believed that in 1633. Instead, the author argues that Galileo's "mistake" was to argue before the church that science was the only way to understand the world, instead of one way. Ah, those scientists.

    Palo Alto Weekly Reviewer: Karen Pennington, book buyer at Kepler's.

  • Sunday Herald Sun

    "...the real dispute between Galileo and the church was about the roles religion and science should play in defining the world."

    Read the complete book review of Galileo's Mistake by Australia's Herald Sun newspaper.

  • WNPR - National Public Radio

    "This is about the epic confrontation between Galileo and the Catholic Church. It's written in such a fascinating way. Very thoughtful and very intelligent."

    Faith's Picks - The Faith Middleton Book Show, WNPR

  • Digital Journal magazine

    "This is not only a book of ideas - about theology versus ideology - but a travel guide to the middle ages and a tour through the social and political landscape that shaped western approaches to the world."

    Read the complete book review of Galileo's Mistake by Digital Journal magazine.

  • The State newspaper, Columbia SC

    "Galileo's Mistake" is a fascinating read on several levels. Rowland takes an in-depth look not only at the life of Galileo, who apparently was a bit of a blowhard, but Pope Urban VIII, the Counter-Reformation Church, and the evolution of astronomy and philosophical thought, tying them together nicely."

    Read the complete book review of Galileo's Mistake by The State newspaper.

  • The Toronto Star newspaper

    "...an ambitious undertaking. The truth behind the trial of Galileo, as narrated in Galileo's Mistake, is a good deal more complicated and interesting than the myth."

    Read the complete book review of Galileo's Mistake by The Toronto Star newspaper.

  • Quill and Quire book review

    "Galileo's Mistake is a lofty and ambitious philosophical exploration, and Rowland's considerable gifts as a writer make the book pleasurable and captivating. The pacing of Galileo's Mistake has the lazy ease of a multi-course Italian dinner, at once relaxing and enriching."

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by Quill and Quire

  • The Myth of Galileo
    by Donald DeMarco, St. Jerome's University

    "Rowland has given us a personal and entertaining trip to Italy and into the world of a most controversial seventeenth-century thinker who, in his confrontation with the Church, forces us to think more deeply and more carefully about the boundaries between faith and reason. In deconstructing a myth, he has re-established a moral, namely, that science without an accompanying ethical vision, is dehumanizing."

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by Catholic.net

  • Chemical & Engineering News Book Review

    Scientism Versus Learned Ignorance
    by Rick Mullin, Chemical & Engineering News

    "In short, Rowland makes his case. He does so through an evenhanded argument steeped equally in the author's thorough grasp of history, philosophy, religion, and science, and by his preference for the simplest explanation of the documentary evidence. ...Rowland has a gift for communicating complicated ideas in a popular context, avoiding the cleverness, polemics, and pedagogic harping that a lesser writer on this topic might easily fall prey to."

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by Chemical & Engineering News

  • The Star-Ledger newspaper

    "What if Western culture got the science right but the moral lessons wrong?"

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by The Star-Ledger

  • Kirkus Book Reviews

    "Well-presented scientific history with an interesting philosophical twist."

    Read the completeKirkus Reviews book review of Galileo's Mistake

  • "Rowland provocatively challenges the prevailing view"

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by Booklist

  • "Rowland is correct in gauging the role of the Church in Galileo's trial, but this work is likely to be controversial"

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by the Literary Journal New York, NY

  • "Rowland's is an audacious position"

    Read the book review of Galileo's Mistake by the Michael Massing, New York Times book review





"The author puts Galileo's life and work in a historical and philosophical context to demonstrate just how revolutionary he really was (and, in some respects, wasn't). We come to know the many faces of Galileo -- the father, the husband, the music lover, the scientist -- and we come to a greater understanding of the fundamental mistake that got him in so much trouble: his stubborn, unrelenting insistence that science, and only science, reveals the true nature of the world. His refusal to accept, even for the sake of argument, the value of other belief systems (say, religion) is what did him in. And his 1633 trial, at the hands of the Inquisition, was not really about his scientific work; it was about the very nature of truth itself. An excellent mixture of science and philosophy."

Review: David Pitt, Bookloons





Galileo's Mistake:
Title: Galileo's Mistake
Subtitle: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church
Author: Wade Rowland
Publication Date: July 2003
ISBN: 1559706848
Hardcover: 320 pages
List Price: $25.95 US
Publisher: Arcade Publishing


For details on the Canadian edition of Galileo's Mistake, published by Thomas Allen Publishers, click here.



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