Joy Hakim’s The Story of Science, Book 1: Aristotle Leads the Way gets a rave review from Justin Torres of Education Gadfly.
Hakim is an engaging writer, unafraid of taking a stand and unembarrassed by the book’s location of science in the humanities and its forthright focus on Western culture’s outsized contributions to scientific inquiry. (Though she does not stint on non-Western history, either.) I found amazing the connections Hakim made between Western philosophy and religion and their creation of the rational, inquisitive mindset that makes modern science possible — connections you will rarely find in most textbooks. For example, she rightfully lingers on the early Renaissance philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas, who revitalized the Aristotelian approach of classification and careful observation that is the modus operandi of modern science. How many American middle schoolers even know the name Aquinas, much less can explain his significance? A few caveats: the book suffers slightly from what Diane Ravitch has called the “If it’s Tuesday, this must be the Hittites” phenomenon, which is perhaps unavoidable in a history that spans millennia. And Hakim is a bit broad in some of her characterizations of religion, especially the other-worldly Christianity that developed in the Medieval era, which was not so anti-intellectual as she sometimes suggests. But these are quibbles that arise from something incredibly refreshing in a textbook: a crisp and articulate point of view.
Hakim is a great story-teller.