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1. The Truth About Everything: An
2. The Courtier and the Heretic:
3. The Management Myth: Debunking
4. Monturiol's Dream: The Extraordinary
5. Modernism and Tradition in Ernest
6. The Gospel of the King: A Commentary
7. The Works of John Playfair ...:
8. Celtic Warrior Chiefs (Heroes
9. Celtic Battle Heroes (Heroes &
10. Warriors of Medieval Times (Heroes
11. Legendary Britain: An Illustrated
12. Some Remarks On the Present State
13. Some General Theorems of Considerable
14. Leading God's People: A Handbook
15. Caring for God's People: Handbook
16. The Distance Of The Sun From The
17. Legendary Britain
18. Our Caterpillars (Science series
19. Propositiones Geometricæ: More
20. Some Considerations on the Policy

1. The Truth About Everything: An Irreverent History of Philosophy
by Matthew Stewart
Paperback: 482 Pages (2006-01-06)
list price: US$21.98 -- used & new: US$18.63
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591023866
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Throughout history, well-known theories of reality, knowledge, mind, and most particularly the 'professional' philosophers who rely on them for their intellectual existence, have sought to isolate universal truths and structure the history of philosophy to distinguish schools and movements that seek a comprehensive understanding of our world. But in this well-intended pursuit of truth, have we lost sight of what philosophy is? Matthew Stewart believes we have. His rowdy guided tour of the search for truth romps through traditional histories of philosophy using parables, imaginary dialogues, and illustrations to demonstrate that knowing theories, recognising revered schools, and distinguishing the views of the great philosophers isn't what philosophy should be about. Once removed from the clutches of historicism, the compulsion for universal answers, and the perception that reason is a peculiarly Western possession, the nature of philosophy can be seen as a genuine human disposition to love and respect knowledge coupled with a desire for critical thinking.Amazon.com Review
The two main branches of modern philosophy, analytic andcontinental, each attack the other as irrelevant. Matthew Stewart saysthey're both right. The Truth About Everything is an earnestlampoon by on Oxford Ph.D. set on bursting the bubble of philosopherseverywhere. His claim is that philosophy endeavors to reveal the truthabout everything, and since this is clearly impossible, the history ofphilosophy is nothing but a mish-mash of misconceptions, false starts,and blind alleys.His acid humor and frank discussions are a welcomecomic interlude for the serious student of philosophy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

3-0 out of 5 stars The truth about everything seems to be that you cannot possibly know any truth...
I found this book extremely difficult to read, starting from the introduction. I really tried to understand the author's point or the unifying thesis behind his approach to the history of philosophy, but I think I did not quite get it.

His truth seems to be that an epistemology of metaphysics is impossible, meaning that you cannot know the unknowable or what is beyond our knowledge (metaphysics).I understood that every philosopher needs an ultimate truth that underlies his philosophy, even if this philosophy is about the non existence of ultimate truths. In the end every philosopher's thesis contradicts itself by claiming to know the unknowable in some way, although some philosophers' contradictions are more evident than others'. The author's "irreverence" was more an attempt to show these probably inevitable internal contradictions even in the "greatest minds of all time". If you follow this logic to its ultimate consequences you can conclude together with the author that engaging in metaphysics and ultimately in philosophy as a whole, is useless. Maybe he is right, this was enough philosophy for me, at least for a while.

I myself cannot claim I found the truth about anything after reading this book, it was more "the truth about nothing" or "the truth is there is no truth, but also this is not true". This book is the history of philosophy written in a difficult and paradoxical way, with some funny anecdotes or comments in between.

In fact I would give it 2 stars for complicating things more than necessary and I do not recommend it for someone that is not into tortuous philosophical loops. On the other hand, it is a good introduction to the history of philosophy, and the author has done a good job in presenting a bit of almost any philosopher a lay person has heard about.

5-0 out of 5 stars You can't have it all, but you can have fun
This book works on two levels. On one, as a good reminder of Western philosophy (although the author insists that there is no such thing as Western thought, I disagree). If you have never read philosphy, of course, this won't be enough and you'll probably be lost. But if you have, and not necessarily all of the philosophers cited, it will be a very good and quick trip through the fascinating chain of successive explanations given about... well, about everything.

On the other level, it is a demythification of the great philosophers and their complex, sometimes absurd, but always frutiful elucidations (for good and bad). The explicit purpose of the author is to demonstrate that all philosophy is ultimately wrong, for the simple reason that there can be no explanation, once and for all, for everything. There is no system of thought that engulfs absolute answers to every question humanity has posed throughout history. Truth, if it exists, has to be revealed bit by bit, through every discovery, idea, and experience, and we're still very far from absolute truths, if we get there one day. Which, by the way, would be the beginning of total boredom.

Stewart achieves the goal of writing a book at the same time serious, profound and professional, as well as easy to read, funny, mocking and direct. Philosophers are presented as ambitious, jealous, seriously interested in finding the truth, but also in dethroning predecessors and rivals, and in being the new Supreme Priests of thought. Nevertheless, along the pages, between joke and joke, we discover an admirable and sustained cultural enterprise, a systematic and reasonably organized effort to understand every phenomenon, from Time, Being and Nothing, to Cosmos, Soul, Ethics, Science, Art and Human Knowledge. Of course, the history of philosophy is the history of a collective failure. But mistake after mistake, mankind has been learning to think, elucidate, and understand. Maybe the answers lie today not so much in philosophy as in science: stars, genes, memes, have opened for us doors to awesome but also disturbing places. What we know today points to unsuspected possibilities, but it also may give you the creeps.

Is there still a role for philosophy in the understanding and resolution of the many implications brought about by artifical intelligence, genetic determinism, the relativity of time, global violence, the resilience of stupid ideas, family disintegration, or virtual communities (and sex)? Gues we'll have to wait and see.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading that makes you think
I like to read about various subjects, philosophy is one of them. This book is funny, and at the same time critical. At times I think it's too critical, it's not fair when the one being criticized is not there to defend his ideas or himself (note: himself, some ad hominem attacks are being stated). The title is too ambitious and pretentious, but then again, so is philosophy as a whole.

This book certainly is not for beginners, though it doesn't cover all important philosophers in depth, it is still not the best read if this is your first or second philosophy book. I enjoy the book from start to finish, and recommend it to anyone interested in a critical not to deep philosophy book (but only if you too are a critical reader).

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent
Well, this might not be the greatest book of philosophy, but it sure gives you a whole new idea behind the subject. Didn't Nietzsche say sckepticals were the only acceptable kind of humans? Well this book has a great sckeptical idology behind it, with a wisp of humor, of course, not adequate for Americans. Though the author is American, he's clearly what Nietzsche defined as a free spirit.

If you wish to understand philosophy and haven't quite withstood the ideas behind plato or find most books to institutional, you should read this book. Zarathustra was different before and after this book, this is how far it goes into explaining the ideas behind each philosopher, destroying it with the same Nietzschean hammer. (Read the epilogue also).

4-0 out of 5 stars Flawed, but nearly unique
While Stewart's book is certainly neither exhaustive or perfect in its portrayl of every significant philosopher, it certainly is a rather unique entry into worthwhile philosophy reads.For one its rather humourous, and two, it attempts to be critical.While most introductions to the subject tend to be far to pious and pedantic, Stewart can point out an obvious flaw or two in nearly anyones favorite philosopher (unless your favorite is David Hume).This book is probably a better read for the novice rather than the newbie, but all the same it pokes much needed holes in the rather pompous tradition of the History of Philosophy. ... Read more

2. The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World
by Matthew Stewart
Paperback: 352 Pages (2007-01-17)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393329178
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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“A colorful reinterpretation. . . . Stewart’s wit and profluent prose make this book a fascinating read.”—Publishers Weekly, starred reviewPhilosophy in the late seventeenth century was a dangerous business. No careerist could afford to know the reclusive, controversial philosopher Baruch de Spinoza. Yet the wildly ambitious genius Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who denounced Spinoza in public, became privately obsessed with Spinoza's ideas, wrote him clandestine letters, and ultimately met him in secret.

"In refreshingly lucid terms" (Booklist) Matthew Stewart "rescues both men from a dusty academic shelf, bringing them to life as enlightened humans" (Library Journal) central to the religious, political, and personal battles that gave birth to the modern age. Both men put their faith in the guidance of reason, but one spent his life defending a God he may not have believed in, while the other believed in a God who did not need his defense. Ultimately, the two thinkers represent radically different approaches to the challenges of the modern era. They stand for a choice that we all must make. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (42)

5-0 out of 5 stars Philosophy in its historical context
I find it much easier to understand philosophical ideas in their context. The author does a great job of setting the stage, explaining what was going on in the time period and explains well why Spinoza's ideas were so radical. I knew very little of Spinoza's work before this, his writing is far too dense to be read in the original unless you have a lot of time and patience. This gives you an overview of what Spinoza and Leibniz believed and most importantly, why

5-0 out of 5 stars Irreverent but brilliant
Matthew Stewart has retired to pursue a life of contemplation. The world of books would benefit a great deal if more clever people and iconoclasts had the means to do this.

Not only does this tale entertain its reader in a way that academic books are not allowed to, it is surely a serious contribution to the history of Spinoza - even if the academic establishment has grave doubts. It is replete with thought-provoking observations, remarks and anecdotes and tells a thorough story - based to great extent on surviving bits and pieces, but also on educated speculation - around the meeting of the two philosophers.

Fans of Leibniz will complain that it is nothing but a character assassination, while Spinozists will tend on the whole to appreciate the detail the story adds to a philosopher whose life remains to a large extent mysterious.

My favourite philosophical remark is the claim that contrary to conventional wisdom, which puts Spinoza in the rationalist tradition, his work is more sensibly read as radical empiricism. Grist to the mill of those of us pursuing lives of independent contemplation.

My favourite piece of irreverence is the almost but not entirely concealed implication in the telling of the circumstances of Spinoza's death that Leibniz may have had some hand in it. Which of course surely cannot be true, can it?

To anyone who is not afraid to rattle the cages of the academic establishment, this is a book very much worth reading. Staunch defenders of the dry anachronisms of academic scholarship should also therefore read this book very carefully.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Crucible of Modernity
Matthew Stewart's The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World, while sometimes dense and filled with philosophic constructions, is a book that's also compelling and well written as it explains some of the most important ideas of the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

As the title suggests, the central concept is Western humanity's understanding of God. And Stewart manages to make abstract arguments about God embody concrete meaning through the lives of Leibniz and Spinoza. To begin, Stewart establishes the family histories and personalities of Leibniz (the courtier) and Spinoza (the heretic). With great detail the central events in the lives of each man, including the events which bind the two men together, are laid out.

For example, Leibniz appears to have had a "craving for affirmation and longing for security . . . [that] only grew more insistent" (53) as his life proceeded. To be fair, it would seem that Stewart is more gracious in his treatment of Spinoza than he is in his rendering of Leibniz. Indeed, many times in the text, Leibniz is painted as a vain and greedy man whose philosophy is simply a tool to be exploited in the climb to social greatness. Leibniz is also portrayed as something of a pathological liar when Stewart declares "there was hardly a strategem Leibniz pursued in this long and colorful political career that did not make use of deception" (302) and that he "did not scruple to lay at the foundation of the future church a number of doctrines in whose truth it is quite implausible to maintain he believed" (303). This suggests to the reader that Leibniz would say anything to achieve fame (and its attendant financial success), even those philosophical constructions he did not subscribe to personally.

Spinoza, on the other hand, is depicted as a stately hermit whose ideas go on to make him "arguably the most important philosopher in the world" (307). Furthermore, although "the problem with Spinoza is that he is an atheist" (224), this does not stop him from contemplating God. Indeed, Spinoza's outsider position allows him to contemplate God in entirely new ways and with enormous consequences. "Philosophy, as Spinoza understands it, does not peddle in temporary cheer . . .; it seeks and claims to find a basis for happiness that is absolutely certain, permanent, and divine" (57). One could say that according to Spinoza, philosophy can direct one toward what is divine: God, or Spinoza's term for God, Nature. In other words, philosophy "achieves its end . . . [in] the life of the mind" (57) in the mind's quest for wisdom and knowledge. Furthermore, "blessedness comes only from a certain kind of knowledge" which is, in Spinoza's words, the "knowledge of the union that the mind has with the whole of Nature" (57). Thus Stewart depicts Spinoza as an atheist who achieves a knowledge and understanding of God.

This, then, is the grand distinction. Spinoza achieved in the life of the mind all that Leibniz desired in his quest for security in the material world. Furthermore, Spinoza died in poverty, but was lauded by thousands at his funeral. Leibniz died wealthy, but was buried alone. Spinoza was denounced as a heretic but lived the life of a saint. Leibniz defended Christianity but never went to church. The ironic dualism of their lives remains stark and poignant even in the 21st century.

Perhaps this dualism is the best way to describe the theme of Stewart's book. On the one hand, Spinoza was a visionary who "perceived the fragility of the self, the precariousness of freedom, and the irreducible diversity in the new society emerging around him" (180). His ideas about Nature, the role of the nation-state, and reality are full of "uncanny prescience" (181). Indeed, "he anticipated insights from the neurosciences that would be three centuries in coming . . . [and] the world he describes is in many ways the modern one within which we live" (181). Much of what Spinoza wrote about in the late 17th century still holds truth and value to this day.

And then there is Leibniz. Stewart claims that "the world Leibniz describes [in his writings] is the one first properly observed by Spinoza" (292). But because Leibniz had an ego that would not allow him to acknowledge the primary work of another, and because Leibniz sought to gain recognition by adhering to Christianity rather than undermining the claims of the church, Leibniz had to come up with a philosophy that controverted Spinoza's. Stewart also claims that the most controversial aspect of Leibniz's work -- the monads and their nature -- leads to a complicated problem for the courtier. Stewart claims that "if God is not a monad, in short, then Leibniz is a Spinozist" (289). But, on the other hand, "if God is a monad, Leibniz is an atheist" (290). Both of these options seem, to this reader, to be untenable for Leibniz. Furthermore, "the monadology is best understood as an attempt to show that one may grant the existence of a universe in every way indistinguishable from the one Spinoza describes and still cling to old hopes about God and immortality on the basis that these matters lie beyond the limits of anything that can be observed or proved by Spinoza" (292). Here Stewart is claiming that the methods each man used to arrive at a modern understanding of God may have been different, but the conclusion each man reached was, ultimately, the same. Leibniz sought to shore up the church but ironically "his work amounts to a deconstruction of modern philosophy in general and Spinozism in particular. It is defined by -- and cannot exist without -- that to which it is opposed. It is, in essence, a reactive philosophy" (293).

The irony is that "Spinoza could see clearly that the old God was dying" (36). Leibniz desperately sought to undermine this and thereby prop up the traditional view of God and the church that was built around it. Leibniz realized that "Spinoza's doctrine . . . takes down not just the God of orthodoxy, but also all of morality" (208). As a result, Leibniz spent the rest of his life attempting to establish a negation -- a reactive philosophy -- of Spinoza's position. Leibniz needed Spinoza. Spinoza died without knowing this, and would not, in all likelihood, have cared.

3-0 out of 5 stars A metaphysical detective story
The book's premise is a meeting that took place between Leibniz and Spinoza on November 18, 1676. The former is represented as perhaps the last vestige of scholasticism and its prescriptions for changing society; the latter is regarded as the harbinger of modernity, and it is hinted that Locke appropriated many of his central themes. Leibniz is ultimately represented as an anachronistic later Wittgenstein; there are no philosophical conflicts, only bad grammar (79). Spinoza, while technically an equal of Leibniz is depicted, by contrast, as expressing a "fiery political passion" (100)

One wonders to what extent Stewart's own experience as an ex-philosopher turned management consultant colors his depiction of the pair; in perhaps the most entertaining section of the book, Leibniz's disastrous foray into mining is represented as the folly of a 17th century management consultant. The heroic Spinoza, by contrast, is given a free pass for a theory of mind-body interaction and its influence on cognition (169) that much of 20th century cognitive Science has shown to be a dead end. See for example, my "search for Mind", third edition, Pp. 80-92. The Search for Mind: A New Foundation for Cognitive Science

Yet there is much bigger game at stake here; the relationship between the state and the individual, and the role, if any, for God. Spinoza is portrayed as introducing a metaphysics of the individualwhich has profound consequences for the role of the state (115).Indeed, the thrust is ultimately mystical; Spinoza's God, famously Einstein's inspiration, could be experienced directly by the individual (79).In onlyapparent paradox, the best thing that the State could do is promote freedom (102)and remain resolutely secular (101)

Or perhaps not quite. Spinoza's state could also have civil servant clerics who promoted the idea of a good, charitable Supreme Being(115). It is hard to assertthat the contradictions in Spinoza's thought are ultimately resolvable. It is indeed true that he may have led a more logically consistent life than Leibniz, who underwent a deathbed conversion to atheism. Perhaps Stewart is applauding the philosophical consistency that he was unable to manage in the early stages of his own varied career; as a full-time writer, we can expect better than this from him.

Seán O Nualláin Ph.D. 30u Bealtaine 2009

4-0 out of 5 stars Modern Thinkers
I enjoyed this book because it was an honest portrait of two men with the loftiest of ideas, and their difficulties in trying to apply those ideals to the messy and uncaring world they found around them.Stewart also does an excellent job of translating the philosophical systems of both Leibniz and Spinoza into understandable ideas, from the abstruse and at times un-intelligible language that both men were disposed to use. ... Read more

3. The Management Myth: Debunking Modern Business Philosophy
by Matthew Stewart
Paperback: 343 Pages (2010-08-16)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393338525
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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“A devastating bombardment of managerial ¬thinking and the profession of management consulting. . . . A serious and valuable polemic.”—Wall Street JournalFresh from Oxford with a degree in philosophy and no particular interest in business, Matthew Stewart might not have seemed a likely candidate to become a consultant. But soon he was telling veteran managers how to run their companies.

In narrating his own ill-fated (and often hilarious) odyssey at a top-tier firm, Stewart turns the consultant’s merciless, penetrating eye on the management industry itself. The Management Myth offers an insightful romp through the entire history of thinking about management, a withering critique of pseudoscience in management theory, and a clear explanation of why the MBA usually amounts to so much BS—leading us through the wilderness of American business thought. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

3-0 out of 5 stars While interesting......
Some will read this book and prematurely jump on Stewart's band-wagon. Oh well.While the book had an interesting perspective, it is just slightly more than Stewart's attempt to use the "not perfect" evolution of management to persue personal vendettas - which are so obvious throughout the book (at least he doesn't hide them).I definitely recommend the book as a springboard to discussion.

4-0 out of 5 stars Education vs. Training for Managers
Stewart's book attacks the consultants' practice of applying pseudoscientific solutions to management for what he now admits (after ten years as a business consultant that made him rich) were actually moral and political problems in organizations. For the future of management education, Stewart says managers don't need to be trained in college (though admits accounting, finance, marketing are useful); instead, training on the job is needed in today's fast changing markets. Instead, managers need to be educated, which includes classical philosophy (his degree from Oxford) to learn why people think and act the way they do. Though he concedes that most managers are good people, and that Mary Parker Follett (Harvard lecturer in the 30s) was correct in that management is all about people (vs. Taylor who reduced management to numbers), he blames efficiency and other management science that promotes competition as contributing to the lack of "commons" in society, which is similar to Greenleaf's plea for organizations to serve the greater good in society. Stewart's book is an expansion of his essay in the Atlantic Monthly in June 2006.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Takedown of the Cult of Management and Strategy
I just finished this outstanding book. It has been on my list since I read the rave WSJ and New Yorker reviews this past fall. It's a brilliant history of management thought dating back to Taylor and scientific management. It is also a highly critical take down of the management consulting industry that relies on hilarious anecdotes from the author's career in management consulting. For what its worth, I want to mention that this is not what I would call a "subversive" book as it pertains to many companies. While not the book's focus, it is supportive of companies and individuals that eschew the flash and sizzle of Strategy (with a capital S) and Management (with a capital M.)

My favorite quote: "What makes for a good manager? If we put all of their heads together, the great management thinkers at the end of the day give us the same, simple, and true answer. A good manager is someone with a facility for analysis and an even greater talent for synthesis; someone who has an eye both for the details and for the one big thing that really matters; someone who is able to reflect on the facts in a disinterested way, who is always dissatisfied with pat answers and the conventional wisdom, and who therefore takes a certain pleasure in knowledge itself; someone with a wide knowledge of the world and an even better knowledge of the way people work; someone who knows how to treat people with respect; someone with honest, integrity, trustworthiness, and the other things that make up character; someone in short, who understands oneself and the world around us well enough to know how to make it better. By this definition of course, a good manager is nothing more or less than a good and well-educated person."

This is a thoroughly entertaining and stimulating read. I feel ashamed that I have read the work of some of the management gurus excoriated in this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A much neglected problem
With forty years of management experience, I was gratified to see someone, finally, addressing the problem. The implications are much broader than Stewart suggests. I can understand that some readers will not care for the narrative about Stewart's personal experience, but I think the context is important and it is better to have it then not to have it.Bravo to Stewart in any case.His book is, hopefully, only the beginning of a critically needed discussion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fresh, well-written and insightful
Stewart is spot-on.He knows his subject inside & out.Book has a good, critical review of the history of "management science" and management consulting.He is very well-read (being a Philosophy grad) and can bring a broad perspective to the management story.His views are well researched, so he has a right to criticize "management science" for its lack of a substantial experimental basis.For a serious book, it's a fast read - amusingly written. ... Read more

4. Monturiol's Dream: The Extraordinary Story of the Submarine Inventor Who Wanted to Save the World
by Matthew Stewart
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2004-06-29)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$16.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000OZ28GU
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A marvelous rediscovery: the compelling story of the strange and noble life—and dream—of nineteenth-century utopian social revolutionary and self-taught engineer Narcís Monturiol, who invented the world’s first fully operational steam-powered submarine, not as a weapon of war but as a means of saving human life and spreading democracy.
Matthew Stewart tells the story of Monturiol from his childhood to his years living the dangerous life of a revolutionary. We see him at the bloody barricades and fleeing—one step ahead of the Barcelona police—to the remote coastline of northern Catalonia. On that shore, watching teams of divers risk their lives gathering coral from the water’s depths for use in the making of jewels, candelabras, and crimson pigment, he finds the true purpose of his life. He saves a man presumed dead from drowning and conceives of a craft that will protect the divers who harvest coral—a safe, hermetically sealed underwater vessel that will make the ocean’s bounty available to the common man.

Stewart writes about the building of Monturiol’s submarine: how, without scientific education (he was a lawyer by training), Monturiol read books on physics, chemistry, and biology; how he launched a hand-powered prototype submarine capable of reaching depths of sixty feet; how his efforts to gain government support for building a larger submarine were thwarted (his invention was dismissed by one official as having “no useful applications”). We see Monturiol, unwilling to give up on his dream, turn to the artists, poets, and musicians of Barcelona to help him mobilize the public to fund his project, and how he launched his second, much larger vessel five years later: the most advanced submarine of its day; at more than fifty feet long it displaced seventy-two tons and navigated reliably at depths of up to one hundred feet, with a unique system for eliminating carbon dioxide, replenishing oxygen in the interior cabin, and enabling its crew to remain underwater indefinitely. It had a steam engine for propulsion, a chemical furnace to heat the engine as it generated oxygen for the crew, external lights, portholes, and pincers for harvesting coral and other objects from the deep. It was the first true submarine; the world would not see its equal for another twenty years.

And we watch as Monturiol’s revolutionary friends, making use of his utopian ideals and notions of urban planning (a term he originated), forge a new culture for Catalonia and its capital city and create the radical design that resulted in an entirely new Barcelona. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Virtually Unknown
I came across this book in a store and discovered a virtual unknown, who appears to have received essentially no credit for invented a modern submarine.It is a fascinating story both from a romantic and technical viewpoint.Highly recommend!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Don Quixote of submarines
I'm Irish and live for some years now in Berlin. On a recent trip to Ireland, I came upon this book in a bookshop. I enjoyed reading it so much, I ordered a copy of it through Amazon to be sent to my eldest son who lives in the USA - I wanted him to read it, but I didn't want to give away my copy.
This is a great story. I always enjoy a well written history book, particularly because a good one can take a potentially boring subject (history!) and bring it to life. Monturiol is the Don Quixote of submarines, and I really felt for him and his band of dreamers as he followed the call of his quest.
Next step for me is a plan to some day go to Barcelona and see the remains and replica of his submarine.
There is a quote I heard somewhere; 'A man's reach must exceed his grasp, or what's a Heaven for'. So is it with Monturiol. But in writing this book, Matthew Stewart never fails his reader.
Read the book and enjoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten Submariner
Narcís Monturiol dreamed of bringing peace and democracy to the whole world.He did not just dream, but he acted.He was an inventor, and he meant for his great invention to become the revolutionary spark to bring humankind into the rosy and egalitarian future.His invention: the most advanced and only reliable submarine of his time, the mid-nineteenth century.In _Monturiol's Dream: The Extraordinary Story of the Submarine Inventor Who Wanted to Save the World_ (Pantheon), Matthew Stewart has written an entertaining biography of the forgotten submariner, whose name is absent even from many histories of the submarine.There are many contingencies that conspired to keep him an unknown, and many tiny events that could have gone differently so that his invention would have descendants and we would know him as "The Father of the Modern Submarine."As it turned out, he was one of those inventors that didn't get the recognition he deserved, and his life only seems successful in retrospect.Nonetheless, he was a fabulous dreamer, thinker, and tinkerer, and deserves the rescue from oblivion provided by this volume.

Monturiol, born in 1819, was a surprise entry into the submarine inventing game.By 1856, he was "pretty much your typical utopian socialist revolutionary."He was not an engineer.He had much to learn, teaching himself the chemistry by which he could produce oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air.He developed thick glass for portholes, and once he realized how dark it was down there, he developed an external lighting system that worked just fine.He was the first to insist on double hulling for a sub; the external one protected the craft and gave it a hydrodynamic shape (these were good-looking, streamlined vessels that resembled giant fish), while the inner one had the safety sealing to protect the crew.It could dive to 20 meters, although with his perfectionism for safety, he made the craft far more pressure-resistant than that.It was steerable, and was propelled by its crew of sixteen cranking a shaft connected to a propeller.The propulsion system was not up to Monturiol's standards, as it could not reach what he thought was an acceptable minimum speed of three knots.When he realized this, he looked for another way of powering the ship; electrical motors (which would be used on the first military subs of the twentieth century) were not yet feasible, and steam had the hazard of fire within the confines of the vessel.Monturiol performed thousands of experiments to find a heat-producing chemical reaction that would generate steam and also produce oxygen as a useful waste product.

It was a brilliant solution that never got a good try.Monturiol, never a good business planner, eventually had no funds for further prototypes.He had spent years of trying, and had sacrificed parts of his utopian dream to bring his machine into reality: a pacifist, he had tried to get military support; a communist, he had tried for capitalistic backing; an internationalist, he had tried to mine local Catalan enthusiasm.It did no good in the end, as eventually _Ictineo II_ went for scrap, breaking the inventor's heart.He scraped by for himself and his family by taking hack writing jobs and then a job in a brokerage house, eventually working his way up to being a cashier.He continued to invent; one of his later inventions, a method of preserving meat for export, ought to have made him millions, but it only made millions for the man who stole it from him.When submarines became practical in the next century, engineers had to re-learn many of the ideas Monturiol had pioneered, so his actual influence was slight.Nonetheless, after a century of neglect, Barcelona has a street sculpture of his sub, and a life-size mock-up to show just what the graceful craft looked like, and a street named after the inventor.Now with this admiring and well-illustrated biography, Monturiol further takes his belated but rightful place within the ranks of those who developed the submarine.
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5. Modernism and Tradition in Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time: A Guide for Students and Readers (Studies in American Literature and Culture)
by Matthew Stewart
Paperback: 143 Pages (2009-04-01)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$24.94
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Asin: 1571134123
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The volume of collected short stories and vignettes In Our Time was Ernest Hemingway's first commercial publication. Its appearance in 1925 launched the full-fledged literary career of this century's most famous American fiction writer. And while other later works of Hemingway have eclipsed In Our Time's fame, none of Hemingway's subsequent works would again carry the degree of experimentation found in this distinctly modernist masterwork. Modernism and Tradition in Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time: A Guide for Students and Readers is a well-paced, lucidly written handbook intended to guide university students and teaching faculty towards a better understanding of this complex work. It provides a reading of each story and vignette, while simultaneously stressing the status of In Our Time as a discrete volume. Included are discussions of the book's biographical and historical background, and considerations of Hemingway's prose style, theories of writing, formal achievements, his literary mentors and influences, and the relation between In Our Time and his later works. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Readable, enjoyable, helpful
I always liked Hemingway's work, including many of the stories in In Our Time.Hemingway is much deeper than some might think, and I always thought I was missing a good deal especially in his short stories.This book helped me to understand the relationships between the stories and the little vignettes.It also discussed historical background that was interesting, and it pointed out elements of the stories that I had not thought of.It helped me to see many things that were going on in the stories, some of which I sensed were there but couldn't put my finger on exactly.I read this book because I am interested in Hemingway.I also think students and teachers would find it helpful.Some teachers keep teaching Hemingway the same old way, and this book would help them with new ideas.This is not stuffy academic criticism, but a creative work in which the author communicates interesting ideas in a clear way with his reader. ... Read more

6. The Gospel of the King: A Commentary on Matthew
by Stewart Custer
Hardcover: 529 Pages (2006-01-31)
list price: US$38.95 -- used & new: US$35.86
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Asin: 1591664640
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7. The Works of John Playfair ...: Biographical Account of Matthew Stewart. Biographical Account of James Hutton. Biographical Account of John Robinson. Review ... Review of Mechain Et Delambre, Base D
by John Playfair
Paperback: 546 Pages (2010-03-03)
list price: US$41.75 -- used & new: US$23.30
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Asin: 1146407327
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This is an EXACT reproduction of a book published before 1923. This IS NOT an OCR'd book with strange characters, introduced typographical errors, and jumbled words.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

8. Celtic Warrior Chiefs (Heroes & Warriors)
by John Matthews, Bob Stewart
 Paperback: 208 Pages (1993-02)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$17.66
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Asin: 185314116X
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9. Celtic Battle Heroes (Heroes & Warriors)
by R.J. Stewart, John Matthews
 Hardcover: 208 Pages (1988-04-18)
-- used & new: US$10.38
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Asin: 1853141003
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10. Warriors of Medieval Times (Heroes & Warriors)
by John Matthews, Bob Stewart, James Field, R. J. Stewart
 Paperback: 208 Pages (1993-02)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$11.49
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Asin: 1853141151
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11. Legendary Britain: An Illustrated Journey
by Bob Stewart, John Matthews
 Paperback: 192 Pages (1994-03)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$14.00
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Asin: 0713722630
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12. Some Remarks On the Present State of Affairs: Respectfully Addressed to the Marquis of Lansdowne
by Matthew Stewart, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice Lansdowne
Paperback: 136 Pages (2010-01-11)
list price: US$20.75 -- used & new: US$13.24
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Asin: 1143079949
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Product Description
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process.We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

13. Some General Theorems of Considerable Use in the Higher Parts of Mathematics
by Matthew Stewart
Paperback: 352 Pages (2010-01-11)
list price: US$32.75 -- used & new: US$19.02
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Asin: 1142768430
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process.We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

14. Leading God's People: A Handbook for Elders
by Stewart Matthew, Kenneth Scott
 Paperback: 144 Pages (1995-05-18)

Isbn: 0715207067
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This text sets out to address the question of what Church Elders are for and what the job of a Session is in the modern church. It seeks to provide clear baseline thinking about the Eldership and applies the key ideas of teamwork and leadership to the Session. It looks at common problems, how to manage the Session team, and how to gain ground. Elders, and others engaged in Christian leadership, are encouraged to read this book as a text and to use it as the basis for individual activity and group discussion. In doing so, it is hoped that the vast potential of the Eldership can be realized in today's church. ... Read more

15. Caring for God's People: Handbook for Elders & Ministers on Pastoral Care
by Stewart Matthew, Ken Lawson
 Paperback: 128 Pages (1988-12)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$159.00
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Asin: 0715206346
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16. The Distance Of The Sun From The Earth Determined, By The Theory Of Gravity (1763)
by Matthew Stewart
Hardcover: 114 Pages (2009-08-27)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$23.41
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Asin: 112005804X
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This scarce antiquarian book is a selection from Kessinger Publishings Legacy Reprint Series. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment to protecting, preserving, and promoting the worlds literature. Kessinger Publishing is the place to find hundreds of thousands of rare and hard-to-find books with something of interest for everyone! ... Read more

17. Legendary Britain
by R. J. Stewart, John Matthews, Miranda Gray
 Hardcover: 192 Pages (1989-10)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$9.75
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Asin: 0713720271
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wizards and kings, outlaws and blacksmiths
If you are a student of folklore, this is a great book for you. Legendary Britain is a lavishly illustrated journey to the mythical and magical places that abound in the British Isles. Stewart and Matthews don't stop with the obvious, like King Arthur and Robin Hood, although there certainly is plenty of info about them here. The best part about this book is the coverage of less famous places and characters, the green men, King Bladud, Wayland Smithy, and Dragon Hll, to name but a few. Even if you aren't all that into folklore, this is an engrossing read, with all the old stories colorfully told. Great fun,and well researched. ... Read more

18. Our Caterpillars (Science series for the young)
by Herbert Wong, Matthew F. Vessel, Matthew F. Vessel
 Paperback: 32 Pages (1977-12)

Isbn: 0201087642
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Describes the physical characteristics and habits of caterpillars emphasizing their habitats and ability to metamorphose. ... Read more

19. Propositiones Geometricæ: More Veterum Demonstratæ, Ad Geometriam Antiquam Illustrandam et Promovemdam Idoneæ.
by Matthew Stewart
Paperback: 280 Pages (2009-04-27)
list price: US$23.99 -- used & new: US$23.99
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Asin: B002IYE3OU
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This volume is produced from digital images created through the University of Michigan University Library's preservation reformatting program. The Library seeks to preserve the intellectual content of items in a manner that facilitates and promotes a variety of uses. The digital reformatting process results in an electronic version of the text that can both be accessed online and used to create new print copies. This book and thousands of others can be found in the digital collections of the University of Michigan Library. The University Library also understands and values the utility of print, and makes reprints available through its Scholarly Publishing Office. ... Read more

20. Some Considerations on the Policy of the Government of India, More Especially With Reference to the Invasion of Burmah
by Matthew Stewart
Paperback: 72 Pages (2009-12-25)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$20.00
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Asin: 1151480045
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Publisher: W. and C. TaitPublication date: 1826Subjects: Burmese War, 1824-1826IndiaBusiness ... Read more

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