Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Review: Logicomix

For a while now I've been whittling away at Logicomix, a graphic novel about the life of philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell. I've never had any particular urge to learn about him, but I saw several positive reviews of the book popping up from time to time so I decided to give it a whirl.

While the book is loosely a biography, it really uses this for it's real purpose, providing the reader with a history of the development of logic at the turn of the last century. In doing so, it uses Russell as a central figure but also talks of the work of Frege, Pointecare, even up to Turing (the latter mentioned only later in the book as a 'look where this lead' type of example).

One complaint is that I would have liked some of the subjects treated in Scott-McCloud-style graphic illustration, while they instead are treated only with text, with the illustration just being of Russell or someone else discussing the idea.

In covering these subjects so sweepingly and in graphic novel form, it doesn't go into the detail some might want, but it does give a palpable sense of the different schools of thought prevalent at different times and how they evolved. This it does in a pretty compelling way, in a book that's interesting and beautifully illustrated.

Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth

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