On Tuesday, famed evolutionary scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins' new book — a memoir called An Appetite for Wonder: The Making of a Scientist — will be published here in the United States. (It came out in the United Kingdom on September 12.) Spanning the years from Dawkins' birth in Kenya in 1941 to the publication of his bestseller The Selfish Gene in 1976, the book tells the story of how Dawkins fell in love with learning and then science.
Dawkins is a controversial public figure. Last year, when I interviewed Dawkins at NPR's Washington headquarters, I found myself in keen disagreement with his style of religion-bashing. And only just last month he caused a furor when he tweeted this message:
All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.
So, I approached An Appetite for Wonder with some trepidation. Indeed, the book was lampooned in The Guardian's "digested read" feature as boastful and arrogant. But what I discovered was something quite different. It's a memoir that is funny and modest, absorbing and playful. Dawkins has written a marvelous love letter to science.
Written By: by Barbara J. King
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