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Logicomix [Paperback]

Apostolos Doxiadis , Christos H Papadimitriou
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 27.00
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Book Description

Sept. 22 2009
An innovative, dramatic graphic novel about the treacherous pursuit of the foundations of mathematics.

This exceptional graphic novel recounts the spiritual odyssey of philosopher Bertrand Russell. In his agonized search for absolute truth, Russell crosses paths with legendary thinkers like Gottlob Frege, David Hilbert, and Kurt Gödel, and finds a passionate student in the great Ludwig Wittgenstein. But his most ambitious goal—to establish unshakable logical foundations of mathematics—continues to loom before him. Through love and hate, peace and war, Russell persists in the dogged mission that threatens to claim both his career and his personal happiness, finally driving him to the brink of insanity.

This story is at the same time a historical novel and an accessible explication of some of the biggest ideas of mathematics and modern philosophy. With rich characterizations and expressive, atmospheric artwork, the book spins the pursuit of these ideas into a highly satisfying tale.
 
Probing and ingeniously layered, the book throws light on Russell’s inner struggles while setting them in the context of the timeless questions he spent his life trying to answer. At its heart, Logicomix is a story about the conflict between an ideal rationality and the unchanging, flawed fabric of reality.

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Review

“This is an extraordinary graphic novel, wildly ambitious in daring to put into words and drawings the life and thought of one of the great philosophers of the last century, Bertrand Russell…A rare intellectual and artistic achievement, which will, I am sure, lead its readers to explore realms of knowledge they thought were forbidden to them.”—Howard Zinn

“This magnificent book is about ideas, passions, madness, and the fierce struggle between well-defined principle and the larger good.”—Barry Mazur, Gerhard Gade University Professor at Harvard University, and author of Imagining Numbers (Particularly the Square Root of Minus Fifteen)

Logicomix is witty, engaging, stylish, visually stunning, and full of surprising sound effects, a masterpiece in a genre for which there is as yet no name.”—Michael Harris, professor of mathematics at Université Paris 7 and member of the Institut Universitaire de France

About the Author

Admitted to Columbia University at age fifteen, novelist Apostolos Doxiadis studied mathematics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. His international bestseller Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture spearheaded the impressive entrance of mathematics into the world of storytelling. Apart from his work in fiction, Apostolos has also worked in film and theater and is an internationally recognized expert on the relationship of mathematics to narrative. His Web site is www.apostolosdoxiadis.com
 
Christos H. Papadimitriou is C . Lester Hogan professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He was won numerous international awards for his pioneering work in computational complexity and algorithmic game theory. He has written the novel Turing: A Novel about Computation.
 
Alecos Papadatos has drawn and directed animated commercials, TV cartoon series and animated films. In 1997, he became a cartoonist for the major Athens daily “To Vima” and created commercial comic strips and comics. He lives in Athens with his wife, Annie Di Donna, and their two children.
 
Annie Di Donna studied graphic arts at the École Superieure des Arts Decoratifs, Grenoble, and painting at the École des Beaux Arts, Annecy. She has worked as animator in many productions of France Animation and Canal Plus, among them Babar and Tintin. Since 1991, she has been running an animation studio with her husband, Alecos Papadatos.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Logical Purchase Nov. 4 2009
By J. Gray
Format:Paperback
The brilliant exposition of this graphic novel combines with cheeky self-referential... references to create a hugely enjoyable book.

Whether or not you can entirely get used to the senior Bertie Russell never being entirely capable of opening his mouth from that characteristic frown, you are nonetheless compelled by the narrative of his journey into the heady lands of logic. Of course, the book takes (admitted) liberties in terms of the story, and the concepts of logic introduced take a background to the characters themselves, but what is left is a still-enthralling story that carries the reader through even the slightly-weak ending. The ever-present stern and collected Russell is an impressive voice of reason to the bounding passions of Wittgenstein, the upright eccentricities of Frege, the cool confidence of Gödel, and the dry musings of Whitehead. The Hilbert/Poincaré battle is also entertainingly fleshed-out.

Those interested in the life of one of the great philosopher-mathematician-logicians of the early 20th century should definitely consider this stylishly illustrated and thoughtfully written work. Those interested in graphic novels equally ought enjoy this cerebral excursion into the search for reason's principles. Highly readable, and well worth it, Logicomix is one of the better graphic novels I've read.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As much a speculative psychodrama of the life of Bertrand Russell as a history of logical positivism, Logicomix introduces the reader to the various characters prior to and comtemporary with Russell. An entertaining basic introduction, nicely illustrated, if a little heavy on the biography part, much of which is conjecture (pun intended).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Incrdible history lesson June 10 2010
By Marc
Format:Paperback
I can't say enough good things about this book. Great for all ages. It teaches you the history of logic and the role it plays in mathematics. It was extremely entertaining.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't put it down... Jan. 31 2010
Format:Paperback
Logicomix was my first full-length graphic novel and I can't be more pleased with my choice. The illustration and colour are excellent, the story is exciting and dramatic and really pulls you in. The book is self-referential, which was a fun and helpful feature: at the beginning and several times throughout the book, the authors appear to both tell the story of the writing of the book and to give background information that helps the reader understand math, logic, and philosophy a little better. It is definitely accessible to the average reader. As the author, in the novel, points out, this is a graphic novel about the characters and their passions, not a book about logic. I am hoping for a sequel (on Alan Turing?)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very intriguing Jan. 5 2010
Format:Paperback
This is a book about mathematical thinking and "common sense" thinking. It is intellectually stimulating. Using as a pretext Bertrand Russel's life, it takes the reader on a fascinating trip through the struggle the mathematicians had to place math on "solid", "rigurous" ground. It is a sort of quest for the Holly Grail in which the journey matters way more than the destination. Its ending is the climax of the book and it makes one think long after one finishes the book. If you are into intellectual pleasures, don't miss this book.
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