I somehow managed to miss this wonderful review of The Philosophical Breakfast Club that appeared last year, in the British magazine Endeavour:
“Snyder’s excellent book achieves the impossible. . . . All four of the main characters in her narrative are such dominant figures in the Victorian intellectual landscape that each of them would normally require…a substantial biography in their own right. Snyder manages to give the reader a deep look into the lives and intellectual achievements of all four in a scant 450 pages, a truly remarkable feat. Beyond this each of the protagonists was a polymath and together they cover a bewildering range of academic and semi-academic topics. . . . When dealing with these each of these topics, and the contributions that one or more of the quartet made, Snyder first gives a concise but extensive history of the subject at hand. Each of these potted histories is good enough to serve as an encyclopedia article on the topic dealt with, a second remarkable achievement.
“Snyder’s book is written for the educated non-expert, the layperson who is interested in nineteenth-century history, the Victorian age, the history of science and more. Her tone is light and she writes well and entertainingly. She meets her aim well and the book can be read by the non-expert with great pleasure. However, this is not just a popular book. Snyder’s research is first-class and the book . . . can be read with great profit by students of the history and or philosophy of science as well as practicing historians . . . .
“If you want a good entertaining, informative and stimulating read, then this is highly recommended.”
(vol. 36, March 2012, p. 1)
With thanks to the review’s author, Thony Christie, for bringing it to my attention . . . and, of course, for writing it!