Isaac the Alchemist

Remember that you heard it here first when they start giving out book honors and awards for nonfiction. Isaac the Alchemist: Secrets of Isaac Newton Revealed by Mary Losure begs for star reviews and stickers for its cover.  

Beautiful writing got my attention early. “It was like magic. It was also very much like alchemy. As he slept that night in the apothecary’s house, Isaac was not yet an alchemist and would not be for many years. But already the seeds of magic had been planted in his mind.”

Mary Losure paints a picture of a disturbed lonely child who becomes a prickly adult more at home with puzzles about the workings of the universe and numbers than with people.  The book intrigues the reader who may know little more about the person Isaac Newton than the old legend of his discovering gravity when an apple falls on his head. (She clarifies that, too.)

The author explains how much he contributed to math and science as a forerunner to Einstein who built on his work and how much his discoveries are used today even though his original goal had more to do with alchemy. She quotes famous economist John Maynard Keynes saying Newton, “was not the first of the age of reason. He was the last of the magicians.”

Her back matter is only slightly less interesting than the book itself including some extra tidbits not found in the text, source materials, and a bibliography.

I read my copy on my Kindle, with gratitude to Net Galley and Candlewick Publishers for the ARC, and can’t wait for a preschool math-loving grandson to get old enough to read it. I do recommend buying it in hard copy, as I will before I put it aside for him to age a bit. The pictures deserve to be examined and seen on paper one can touch.