Author of The God Delusion and The Greatest Show on Earth, Richard Dawkins’ latest is a unique look at how everything is “living true.” In The Magic of Reality, he shows us how the “real world, as understood scientifically, has magic of its own,” and how “next to the true beauty and magic of the real world,” what we think is magic and supernatural seems “cheap and tawdry by comparison.” In this book he shows us how the magic of reality is “wonderful and real.” Wonderful because it’s real.
Most chapters are titled with a provocative question, like “Who was the first person?” “When and how did everything begin?” “Are we alone?” and “What is a Miracle?” Dawkins first starts most chapters out by explaining the myths we have had to explain the answer to questions like these, then proceeds to lay out the “real” answers with amazing illustrations by Dave McKean.
At first you may experience this read like I did. I thought to myself as I read section titles, “Oh I know already the answer to that.” But as I read on, I realized there was so much more to the answer, or even if I already knew a lot about the the answer, I loved the experience of learning it again. Dawkins tells us about different aspects of how the world works in a lay speak way, and like your favorite teacher, can captivate your learning of even what might at first seem the most boring or complex of subjects.
He talks about lots of crazy myths people have had in history to explain how things work. For example, when it comes to how everything began, you’ll learn about the African myth from the Bantu tribe, to the Indian myth with Lord Vishnu. What’s the real answer? A modern version of the big bang model I know I hadn’t known about.
He exposes us to some interesting “real” explanations you would have never thought of, like while some of us might think there are aliens out there, he gives us a rational explanation that I am still trying to wrap my head around. This one I will leave to you to decide whether he is on to something, but sure worthy of thought, to be sure.
And other times he explains what we do know, but why it is we don’t know the whole answer…yet. Like the question, “Is there life on other planets?” To this he tells us all the reason why why “there is much that remains deeply mysterious.”
Want to feel like a kid again, when you were learning and loving it? Want to give your kids a book that will give them this experience and learn a lot about some of the biggest questions there are? Written for a wide range of ages from tween on up (in my opinion), The Magic of Reality not only delivers this, but tantalizes us with how “truth has a magic all of its own.”