, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 317–320 | Cite as

The usual suspects

Richard Dawkins (ed.): The Oxford book of modern science writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009, xviii+419 pp, £9.99 PB
  • Mark Erickson
Book Review

In this collection Richard Dawkins has compiled over 70 pieces of writing from a range of familiar writers. His brief, to assemble ‘good writing by professional scientists, not excursions into science by professional writers’ (xvii) from the last century, is arranged into four themes: what scientists study, who scientists are, what scientists think and what scientists delight in (presumably, as this is a different theme from the first, scientists do not delight in what they study?). It is worth noting at the outset that these themes are not addressed by the writers themselves. Rather, we have Dawkins’s interpretation of what the writers were really expounding in their original texts. Dawkins provides a brief, lively, and always illuminating introduction to each piece; these are often written from a personal perspective and are illustrated by anecdotes and insights into his own thinking.

Dawkins’s project is both modest and ambitious. It is modest in the sense that it confines itself to...


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Applied Social ScienceUniversity of BrightonFalmer, BrightonUK

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