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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(4 star).Show all reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2011
Purchased this for teenaged niece and nephew and read it myself first. Interesting presentation of how to use scientific evidence to explain things like: what is reality, what are things made of, the reason for day and night, the seasons, earthquakes, when and how did everything begin, who was the first person. He starts each chapter with several myths that were used to explain these questions in ancient times. Written at an adult level and would be suitable for teens who like to read and learn. Lots of good illustrations. Very entertaining and thought-provoking style of writing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2011
We enjoyed the 6 disc audio book, though if not for my 10 year old son enjoying it, I would not have continued listening. The presentation is aimed at children, or adults suffering from a severe lack of science in their lives, perhaps recovering from religious indoctrination.

Also the book would cause offence to religious parents, so although it would be excellent for all children, I fear it won't reach the children who will need it most, those being raised on religious explanations and the bible. It is however, wonderfully suited for atheist homes.

I feel it is suited as soon as the child begins to ask the big questions such as "where do we come from?" age 5 or 6 in small segments, larger segments for older children. It would also be wonderful to help dispell the fears small children have about things they don't understand. It would suit up to age 12 or 13. Though as a family, we all enjoyed it, especially the segment about your millionth great grandfather the fish, and the detailed explanations of evolution, using time travel, and a ginormous stack of photos, as devices to help get across the vast distances of time. It was amusing and entertaining, though it was almost entirely information I am already familiar with.

Dawkins' rich, eloquent voice delivers the material clearly and concisely, though his irritation at certain issues of religion are not masked, which takes the book beyond the traditional science of the 70's and 80's into neo-atheist teritory; science with an agenda.

He refers to Jesus, Mary, God and biblical stories as one of many world mythologies, right alongside myths of the Maya, Navaho, Norse, Indian, and others stressing how many people today still believe these myths to be true, shock horror!

My son greatly enjoyed it, even regularily asking for another installment.
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on June 18, 2014
I got this for my step-grandkids and they aren't quite old enough yet, so I can't say how they'll react to it. My husband and I both read it and liked it, although to us most of the information was already well-known. I'm not sure what age range this is meant for. I guess it could be great for an uneducated adult, or for places where adults want a light read, like a waiting room. To actually sit down and read it though, I dunno... maybe somewhere between age 8-12? I do know that most kids' books focus on fantasy, from genie-lamps & talking animals for toddlers to Harry Potter and romance stories for teens, so we definitely need some books that will encourage children to see the delightful side of good old REALITY. Too much emphasis is placed on escaping reality and that's not only wrong (Reality is cool!) it's dangerous, because people who are obsessed with escaping the "boredom" of reality don't bother to get involved in science and don't bother to vote and don't learn how to repair their own belongings or grow their own food... a society lost in daydreams is a society about to crumble.
I just have to keep alert and give the kids this book when they're ready for it... I'm afraid I'l forget and find it in the storage room when they're thirty, ha ha!
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on January 10, 2013
The Magic of Reality pleasantly surprised me; in so far as it covers, in easily readable prose, areas of science I have often found daunting or intractable. To an extent, it offers an FAQ of the universe and man's place in it, from early superstition to the sophistication of modern science.

The illustrations greatly enhanced both the clarity and the sense of wonder which is engendered. Myth and magic, perhaps often regarded as in conflict with empirical or experimental science, are revealed as having a deep significance of their own in the development of our early ancestors and inevitably awaken a deeper awareness of our own significance, despite our individuality.

No dry academia here. Rather, I think, an author whose fascination with his own life's work is infectious.
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on August 1, 2015
Just when you think you know a bit about a lot of things a book like this comes along. Everything in the universe is explained in terms that even I can understand. Highly recommended for ages 10 to 102 and beyond. Caution however - the book will remind you just how insignificant we really are.
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on April 20, 2014
A great introduction to scientific thinking. My kids and I enjoyed reading it together. There are no pictures in the paperback editions.
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on September 14, 2015
Thoiught provoking!
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