Completed shortly before his death, this is the last work of science from the most celebrated popular science writer in the world. In characteristic form, Gould weaves the ideas of some of Western society's greatest thinkers, from Bacon to Galileo to E. O. Wilson, with the uncelebrated ideas of lesser- known yet pivotal intellectuals. He uses their ides to undo an assumption born in the seventeenth century and continuing to this day, that science and the humanities stand in opposition. Gould uses the metaphor of the hedgehog- who goes after one thing at a measured pace, systematically investigating all; the fox- skilled at many things, intuitive and fast; and the magister's pox- a censure form the Catholic Church involved in Galileo's downfall- a metaphor which illustrates the different ways of responding to knowledge- in a scientific, humanistic or fearful way. He argues that in fact each would benefit by borrowing from the other.
"Pairs high brilliance with deep modesty." * New Humanist *
"Reading Gould is not merely a pleasure but an education and a chronicle of the times" * Observer *
"Not only one of the finest scientific minds of the later twentieth century, but also one of its greatest polymaths" * The Times *
"Gould strives to outline a more peaceful, mutually supportive view of the realtionship between the sciences and the humanities" * Nature *
"One of the best essayists in the business. He uses his wide background knowledge...as a bridge to entice non-scientists into sharing the excitement of scientific discovery and the curious, convoluted path of new ideas through history" * Scotsman *