Take this brief, but enjoyable, biography of Newton, the founding father of modern scientific thought. Ackroyd plunges the depths of his genius and his obsession, and sheds new light on familiar stories, as one would expect. But he doesn't shy away from the areas of his life that cleave less to the modern idea of what a scientist should be: his deep, abiding and ever-so-slightly heretical Christian faith and his life-long flirtations with alchemy.
He also doesn't play down the difficult, arrogant and insecure nature of the man, and delves into the conflicts with others and periods of seclusion that defined his life. What makes this book, like earlier efforts in the series, so compelling is that they take the greatness of the subject's work for granted, and delve as best as one can, into the reality of the man behind the work. And that can't help but be fascinating.