I am teaching a history of science survey at the University of Minnesota and picked up this book thinking I could use it to assign some famous original papers to my students with readable and reliable introductions. Boy, was I wrong. Spot-checking the book in my area of expertise, Einstein (which, I may add, is supposedly also one of the author's areas of expertise), I quickly turned up a few howlers so bad as to make this book completely unfit for classroom use. In section 4, on special relatiivty, Lightman calls the Michelson-Morley experiment "one of the most important scientific experiments of all time" and claims that Michelson "was awarded the Nobel prize for his "failure" [to detect the earth's motion through the ether]" (p. 62). In a famous article first published in 1969 and still readily available, Harvard historian Gerald Holton disposed of this myth of the Michelson-Morley experiment ("Einstein, Michelson, and the "Crucial" Experiment." Isis 60 (1969): 133-197. Reprinted in Gerald Holton, Thematic Origins of Scientific Thought: Kepler to Einstein. Rev. Ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988, pp. 279-370). Lightman appears to be blissfully ignorant of the literature on the history of relativity. Section 1 on Planck is even worse. On p. 3 of his book, he writes, eloquently but even eloquently stated falsehoods are false: "The seemingly smooth flow of light pouring through a window is, in reality, a pitter-patter of individual quanta, each far too tiny and weak to discern with the eye. Thus began quantum physics." In a controversial book first published in 1978, Thomas S. Kuhn argued that Planck did not quantize much of anything and that quantum physics only started with Einstein in 1905 (Black-Body Theory and the Quantum Discontinuity, 1894-1912. 2nd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987). This book has been hotly debated since among historians of physics, but I do not know of a single serious historian of physics who has Planck introduce light quanta in 1900! Whatever Planck did in 1900, this he did not. Light quanta were introduced by Einstein in 1905 and met with strong resistance for almost 20 years from the rest of the physics community. When Planck recruited Einstein for a post in Berlin in 1913, he, Planck himself, actually noted in his official proposal that Einstein had sometimes gone overboard in his speculations, the light-quantum hypothesis being his prime example (see, e.g., Albrecht Fölsing, Albert Einstein, New York: Viking, 1997, p. 328). As I hope the reader will recognize, these are blunders, not minor mistakes. They go to the heart of the episodes Lightman discusses. And they could easily have been avoided had Lightman taken the trouble of familiarizing himself with some of the most obvious literature in history of physics. If he makes such a hash of the physics stuff he supposedly knows well, one wonders what howlers may be lurking in his introductions to papers outside his (and my) area of expertise. Hence my recommendation: devoutly to be avoided.