“This fine book is as wide-ranging and anecdotal, as excited and exciting, as those long-ago Sunday morning conversations at Cambridge.  The Philosophical Breakfast Club forms a natural successor to Jenny Uglow’s The Lunar Men (which focuses on 18th-century chemist Joseph Priestley, inventors James Watt and Josiah Wedgwood, and polymath Erasmus Darwin), and Richard Holmes’s The Age of Wonder.”
—The Washington Post

“Ms. Snyder, a scholar of Victorian science and culture at St. John’s University in New York, shows a full command of the scientific, social and cultural dimensions of  the age. In Ms. Snyder’s telling, the lives and ideas of these men come across as fit for “Masterpiece Theater.””
—Wall Street Journal

“A fascinating story, one told with considerable charm by Laura J. Snyder in The Philosophical Breakfast Club.” Washington Times

“Laura J. Snyder deftly recreates this age of marvels through the lives of four remarkable Victorian men. In doing so, she tells a greater tale of the rise of science as a formal discipline, and the triumph of evidence-based methods of inductive reason…Much of the delight of Ms. Snyder’s telling lies in her eye for details…a sure-footed guide to the mores and foibles of 19th-century Britain…The members of the Philosophical Breakfast Club left behind some lavish gifts. This volume offers them up delightfully.”
—The Economist

“Snyder writes with the depth of a scholar and the beauty of a novelist.”
—Science News

“In Snyder’s able hands, the intertwined lives of the four Cambridge friends become the stuff of a Trollope novel….she deftly interweaves snippets from the letters with lucid explanations of the science involved and with scenes from 19th-century British life….Focusing on the correspondence also allows Snyder to blend intellectual and family registers, just as her protagonists did in their letters. She is alert to nuance and sensitive to what is unsaid as well as said….Snyder succeeds famously in evoking the excitement, variety and wide-open sense of possibility of the scientific life in 19th-century Britain…splendidly evoked in this engaging book.”
-American Scientist

“Truly remarkable….If you want a good entertaining, informative and stimulating read, then this is highly recommended.”
-Endeavour

 
Geeks, scientists, intellectuals will leap for joy at Laura J. Snyder’s book, which tells the tale of four Victorian men of Science.”
The Daily

“This is an excellent book about the history and status of science in 19th century England. If you enjoy the history of science, this book stands a good chance of being the best one in that genre to come out this year.”
—Tyler Cowen, MarginalRevolution.com

 
Snyder “leaves the reader with an inspiring sense of just how influential these men were in shaping our world and laying the foundation for major science and technological changes. The call to action is clear: bring the arts and the sciences  back to the breakfast table and raise a mug of ale in memory of the four Victorian scientists who changed the world.”
 —DailyBeast.com

A “masterful portrait of science in the 19th Century.”
New Scientist

“Fulbright scholar and historian Laura J. Snyder plunges confidently and stylishly…Snyder engagingly stakes out an era beginning with science as a hobby of vicars and the wealthy to its evolution as the engine of imperial growth.”
Newark Star-Ledger 

“A unique view of the background and times in which these men lived, and a peek at the implications that their work and philosophy had on today’s modern science.” (Starred Review)
Science Books & Films

“Engrossing….Packed with good stories and anecdotes, as well as with good science and good history.”
Book News

“Smoothly and meticulously tells this complicated story of intellectual revolution and triumph in Victorian England… provides much interesting social and historic detail.”
The Providence Journal

“If wonder and humanity do return to science, wonderful biographical works such as Snyder’s Philosophical Breakfast Club will no doubt have played a part.  The Philosophical Breakfast Club is an intellectual banquet, recounting myriad thought-provoking scientific discoveries, and sufficiently detailed to convey the kind of environment these men lived in and how they dramatically changed science for the better. Snyder’s extensive bibliography attests to the painstaking effort she put into this work, and the result is an entertaining and enlightening journey through the Victorian age filled with scores of interesting scientists besides the Philosophical Breakfast Club, many of whom, given their contributions to science and human life, deserve their own biographies.”
—The Objective Standard

“The author’s extensive research, wonderful writing, and passion for lifelong learning all serve to awaken the reader’s inner spirit of discovery.”
Bookreporter

“Each of the four figures is a worthy subject in his own right, and by combining their stories Snyder provides the right balance of biography and science. It also allows Snyder to discuss a wide range of scientific developments that are sufficiently modern to appeal to today’s readers.”
—Publishers Weekly

“A striking account of how a few bold individuals catalyzed profound social change.”
Booklist

“Snyder captures not only the scientific ambitions of the foursome, but also the dynamics of their youthful friendship.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education

“An accessible and engaging read on the origins of Victorian science, its personalities, and the cultural contribution made by these four men, this will appeal to readers interested in Victorian science, biographies, astronomy, chemistry, the religion vs. science debate, Darwin, computers, and a smorgasbord of related sciences.”
Library Journal

“The author skillfully weaves together the lives of her four principals with the science of their day.”
Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author











Laura J. Snyder, Ph.D., is a science historian, philosopher and writer whose most recent book, The Philosophical Breakfast Club: Four Remarkable Friends who Transformed Science and Changed the World, was an Official Selection of the TED Book Club, a Scientific American Notable Book, and winner of the 2011 Royal Institution of Australia Poll for Favorite Science Book. It was also named an "Outstanding Academic Title" in history of science and technology by the American Library Association. Snyder is Professor of Philosophy at St. John's University in New York City and writes frequently about science and ideas for The Wall Street Journal. She is a Fulbright Scholar, a Life Member of Clare Hall College, Cambridge, and Past President of the International Society for the History of Philosophy of Science.

 She is currently working on a book about how new optical technologies in the 17th century revolutionized not only science, but also art and the rest of culture. Follow Laura Snyder on Twitter and Facebook.

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