Arthur Koestler's extraordinary history of humanity's changing vision of the universe
In this masterly synthesis, Arthur Koestler cuts through the sterile distinction between 'sciences' and 'humanities' to bring to life the whole history of cosmology from the Babylonians to Newton. He shows how the tragic split between science and religion arose and how, in particular, the modern world-view replaced the medieval world-view in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. He also provides vivid and judicious pen-portraits of a string of great scientists and makes clear the role that political bias and unconscious prejudice played in their creativity.
Find a place where the night sky is unsullied by light
Read this while living in the mountains of Lesotho where there is little interference from electric light, where the Milky Way became a giant clock each night. While Koestler is narrow in his representation of “human” knowledge of the skies, the story told fascinates, reveals how difficult understanding the world is and how difficult maintaining that knowledge is in the face of politics.