The book to choose for a general bio of Galton.2006/6/19
A Pawtuxet Reader
An enjoyable introduction to Sir Francis Galton, the brilliant Victorian who gave us weather maps, fingerprints, and (on a less positive note) eugenics. Galton loved to measure things; wherever he was, whatever he was doing, it seems that he found something in his surroundings to measure. His curiosity and enthusiasm for life and discovery make him a sympathetic character even considering his racism, sexism, and classism; he was, after all, a product of his upper-middle-class Victorian environment.
This version of his life story is a good read; choose it instead of Gillham's version unless you want to get into the actual science of what he was doing. One major fault of the Brookes book: it doesn't have an index. Gillham's book has an extensive one.
What would make a Galton biography one step better: more analysis of why Galton became who he was and perhaps a deeper look into his own writings, along with the impact that Galton has on science and psychology today.
For more info on Galton, go to the website [...]
Too much author's posturing2014/4/18
Patrick L. Boyle
I bough this book because it was cheap. Maybe I should have expected less.
Galton is an interesting person and an important figure in world history. But this slim biography has entirely too much of the author interjecting himself into the narrative to denounce Galton for his unfashionable ideas. Mr. Brookes seems to live in horror of the thought that anyone might think that he thinks the same way as Galton. Over and over he stops the exposition to make it clear that he thinks Galton is some kind of monster.
Who needs all this? No one who would read this book would fail to know that Galton was the founder of Eugenics. Nor would they know that Eugenics was once very popular and now is out of favor. Indeed one of the main reasons why anyone would want to read this book is to try to understand why eugenics was once so powerful an idea. No one cares what Mr. Brookes thinks.
I've never read a biography of Hitler. Is it like this? Do you have to endure the narrator constantly telling you what a bad man Hitler was and how he the author doesn't agree with Hitler or his ideas?
I probably will have to read Galton's own autobiography. But it's pretty expensive.
Very enjoyable reading2013/4/8
Mark C. Roybal
I always enjoy a book when the author gives descriptive details and assumed anecdotal events that allows the reader to visually enriched their reading experience.
A Quirky Book For A Quirky Man2008/8/11
This book is quite quirky, about an individual largely forgotten today but whose innovations in statistics, data gathering techniques, and survival tips are still used today. The book paints a convincing picture of a man who sought a reputation as a man of science but who was (as all human beings are) filled with rather dark sides that showed in his snobbery and in his mania for collecting data. The book appears a bit too sympathetic to evolution and to the moral difficulties that follow from rejecting God's standards, seeking to condemn Galton for his Nazi-esque eugenic fantasies while not understanding the Darwinian root of such problems. Nonetheless, the book is a fine one about a compelling and unusual figure who will remain obscure to most of those who take advantage of his quirky innovations.