Books Received | Published:

A Popular History of Science


IN looking through many of the works on popular science one is inclined to exclaim, “Oh, monstrous! but one halfpennyworth of bread to this intolerable deal of sack.” Mr. Routledge's recent volume is fortunately an exception to this rule, for in it we find a clear and concise statement of the development of the main branches of physical science given in a readable form with such an amount of biographical notices as to impart a human interest to the tale. Extracts, too, from the writings of the great workers in science have been judiciously interspersed throughout the text, thus bringing the student into direct communication with the master mind. Numerous illustrations accompany the description; some of these are original, and others taken from the French, and none the worse for that. Most of them are well executed, but intimate friends might possibly find some fault with the likenesses of living men of science. Of course it is an easy as it would be a thankless task to point out sins of omission, and perhaps also of commission, in a book like the one under notice. Such works must not be looked upon with the eye of microscopic criticism. If the general direction which the author takes is the right one, if he does not make his task easy by glossing over all the points of difficulty, but puts his case clearly and fairly forward, he may well be excused if he omits matters which one or other of his readers may deem necessary. These conditions Mr. Routledge, as it seems to us, has satisfactorily fulfilled. We can therefore cordially recommend this “Popular History of Science,” believing that it will exert a healthy influence on all who read it, and may be a powerful means of spreading the love of science amongst the rising generation.

A Popular History of Science.

By Rob. Routledge (London: George Routledge and Sons, 1881.)

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.