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

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

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

"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 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:

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

by Wade Rowland


Book Review by the Boston Herald of Galileo's Mistake

Review by Rob Mitchell
Boston Herald newspaper
Sunday, August 10, 2003

Losing thy religion: Galileo vs. the church

In 1633, it was church doctrine that the Earth stood still, anchored at the center of the universe. In opposition, Galileo supported Copernicus' theory that the Earth revolved around the sun, famously insisting "it moves." There was a showdown, and Galileo backed down.

But the church's victory was Pyrrhic. Galileo was right, and history now portrays him as a lonely champion of enlightenment. The church is cast as a despotic power, blindly hostile to scientific inquiry.

In a close-up look at the confrontation between Galileo and the church, Wade Rowland makes the case that conventional history misses the point. With easy erudition, he argues that the question of the Earth's movement was secondary to a larger issue, the marginalization of religion. According to Galileo, science provided the superior, perhaps the only, means to an understanding of the world. That's what the church found so disturbing and unacceptable.

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. Rowland says the animosity Galileo aroused can be blamed on his own insufferable polemic style and his refusal to acknowledge that science can't answer the nagging questions: Why? To what end?

Book review by the Boston Herald newspaper

Other Book Reviews of Galileo's Mistake:

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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