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Are Universes Thicker Than Blackberries?
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Martin Gardner (1914-2010) is regarded as one of the world's leading experts on Lewis Carroll and his work. The author of more than a hundred books, he wrote the "Mathematical Games" column for Scientific American for twenty-five years and has been hailed by Douglas Hofstadter as "one of the great intellects produced in this country in this century."

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Gardner is a revered figure among science buffs for his long tenure at Scientific American, The Annotated Alice and his many other publications. This latest collection brings together recent columns and introductions to new editions of neglected gems like Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday. The first two sections cover familiar Gardner topics: science and games. In the third section, Gardner (who bills himself a philosophical theist) muses on religion and religious figures and ties in with the last section on Freudians and psychics. This is not one of Gardner's stronger collections. Too often he seems petulant in an Andy Rooney sort of way, but without Rooney's underlying sense of fairness. He brands Gary Wills a near-heretic for Wills's criticisms of the Catholic Church; Gardner concludes his critique with a six-point catechism demanding to know what Wills himself believes. Wills's Why I Am a Catholic has been in print for almost a year, ample time for Gardner to have added an afterword, as he has for a few of his other essays. Gardner's distaste for Freudian and feminist interpretations of the Little Red Riding Hood story seems to stem mainly from their sexual content. His own interpretation is a simplistic, albeit plausible, tale of good and evil. Gardner's best essays cover old stomping grounds: literature like the Oz stories or Edgar Wallace's The Green Archer, and the tricks used by psychics and various New Age tricksters. Still, die-hard Gardner fans may find worthwhile reading here. 30 illus. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Martin Gardner's contribution to contemporary intellectual culture is unique - in its range, its insight, and understanding of hard questions that matter." Noam Chomsky "...deftly debunk[s] everything from bogus medicinal remedies to psychic charlatans." Hazel Muir, New Scientist "He covers an astonishing range of topics..." Manjit Kumar, The Times Literary Supplement "Read it, as Gardner says, and weep." Victoria Neumark, The Times Educational Supplement

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