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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
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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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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon December 13, 2015
Review courtesy of

There are some amazing things in nature, things we typically take for granted: rainbows, the seasons, earthquakes, matter itself. Dawkins doesn’t take them for granted, and in his new book, he aims to explain them in as simple a manner as possible, taking joy in the wonder of nature.

That joy in nature comes through clearly, as it often does in Dawkins’ writings. Though The Magic of Reality isn’t labeled as such, it’s mostly a science primer: if you have any science background, you’ll know much of what he says already. That said, it spans enough of areas of science almost any reader will still learn some things, and it could make a good gift for a precocious child interested in science.

From why we have rainbows and earthquakes to how we evolved and why there are so many different kinds of animals, Dawkins takes on a whole range of questions. His older works glory in nature, and invite the reader to share in his passion for it: his love of science illuminates his writings. His more recent work, however, has tended towards the bitter – I would speculate that his love for the natural world calcified into a hatred for religion. The Magic of Reality is an attempt to return to his earlier method, with some success: his joy in science is back, but he still can’t resist the occasional jab at religion. Still, it’s much better.

Not a must read, and I’d probably rather read his early books first, but still well worth it, and The Magic of Reality could also make a good Christmas gift.
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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 July 14, 2016
Richard Dawkins has a great ability to explain things in a very simple manner yet very interesting. This book explains various concepts from what is the sun to where do we come from. M. Dawkins, in every chapter, presents various myths that were originally told (and sometimes still are) to try and answer the various questions adressed in this book making this book very interesting even for people that might already know the answer to some of the questions. It is important to know that this book doesn't go as deep in the subject as other books by M. Dawkins like The Selfish Gene for example, it is rather an brief explanation of various concept that could disappoint a reader expecting a in-depth analysis. Although, it also makes this book perfect for young reader as well. It is a great initiation to critical thinking and science
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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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