More Horn Tooting (Newton and the Counterfeiter Edition), and yet another apology
The apology first: regulars here know that the blog has been moribund for a while now. Two factors lie behind my (uncharacteristic) dalliance with (bits of) the Benedictine Rule. First — just sheer end-of-term/father-of-a-nine-year-old/husband-to-someone-I’d-like-to-see-more-than-in-passing overwhelmed-ness. That goes with the season and the life…but usually doesn’t so thoroughly quash my fire to get stuff up and out there.
The second is a kind of soul or brain weariness. Over the last couple of months, the relentlessness of the stupid out there has gotten to me, and this latest mock furor (warning — deep ocean of glib and I’m-so-clever-stupid at that link) over the East Anglia emails has left me speechless.
I’m going to try to blog about it, unnecessarily, no doubt, after the tens of thousands of words (much more, probably) already expended on the topic. It is futile, I know, to attempt to explain the fact that even if every false claim about the significance of the alledged distortions of the temperature record were true, the breadth and depth of the body of direct measurement, climate proxies, experiment, simulation and the rest would be sufficient to document the deep predicament we find ourselves facing right now. I will. I really will.
But I’m going to get going on that tome tomorrow. For now, I have some happy news to share. London’s Sunday Times, one of the two or three major players in the world of British literary journalism, has had the kindness and the good taste to name my Newton and the Counterfeiter in its books of the year round up for 2009, one of nine books in their history category so honored. (Or, as I should write to acknowledge the source, so honoured.)
Here’s what their judge/reviewer had to say in support of his choice:
A delightful piece of narrative history, exploring the surprising second career of Isaac Newton as warden and master of the Royal Mint, his efforts to secure the country’s coinage and his attempts in particular to end the career of master forger William Chaloner. Levenson has a wonderfully light touch, and is able to bring the same enthusiasm and vigour to his discussion of Newton’s work as to his engrossing description of the pursuit of the dastardly Chaloner
I couldn’t agree more. 😉
Image: Pieter Huys, “A surgeon extracting the stone of folly” before 1577.