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23 May 2010

Book Review: The Language God Talks by Herman Wouk

Title: The Language God Talks: On Science and Religion
Author: Herman Wouk
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: April 5, 2010
Hardcover: 192 pages
ISBN: 978-0316078450
Genre: Religion/Science

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From the Publisher:

"More years ago than I care to reckon up, I met Richard Feynman." So begins THE LANGUAGE GOD TALKS, Herman Wouk's gem on navigating the divide between science and religion. In one rich, compact volume, Wouk draws on stories from his life as well as on key events from the 20th century to address the eternal questions of why we are here, what purpose faith serves, and how scientific fact fits into the picture. He relates wonderful conversations he's had with scientists such as Feynman, Murray Gell-Mann, Freeman Dyson, and Steven Weinberg, and brings to life such pivotal moments as the 1969 moon landing and the Challenger disaster. Brilliantly written, THE LANGUAGE GOD TALKS is a scintillating and lively investigation and a worthy addition to the literature.

My Review:

I did not know what to expect when I began The Language God Talks by Herman Wouk and all I knew prior to beginning the book is that I enjoyed Wouk's earlier works and he not only met, but also quoted my all-time favourite physicist, Richard Feynman. I am pleased to report The Language God Talks exceeded my expectations. Wouk's book, while concise is filled with very large and abstract ideas. Those interested in mathematics and science will probably gain the most insight from The Language God Talks, after all, according to Feynman and others, the language is calculus. Wouk discusses the lengths he goes to talk to the great minds of the century in his quest for a deeper understanding of how religion and science fit together, piecing together history, literature and science. If one is looking for a straightforward answer, this book may disappoint. However, if one is looking for an intellectual book filled with many deep issues to ponder and then render one's own opinion, this is the book to read. Wouk's book, while deceptively trim and simple sounding, is a series of rather complex philosophical, ethical, and straightforward questions as well as his own reflections from serving in WWII. The book offers up no direct answers rather Wouk points the reader towards several relevant, and at times intellectual, examples or in the scientific world, proofs (not to be mistaken with the proof of something). I highly recommend The Language God Talks to anyone who is looking for an intellectual book that will make one think for oneself rather than turning out pat ideology. The Language God Talks would be a lively discussion group book.

About the Author:

Herman Wouk earned his living as a scriptwriter for Fred Allen before serving in World War II. His career as a novelist spans nearly six decades and has brought him resounding international acclaim. He lives in Palm Springs, California.

I received a complimentary copy of The Language God Talks by Herman Wouk from Hachette. Receiving a free copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.


1 comment:

Marie said...

sounds like a great book! i think it would be fantastic for my book club.