Friday, May 18, 2007

Book Review: "The Shadow Club"

Robert Casati's The Shadow Club: The Greatest Mystery in the Universe - Shadows - and the Thinkers Who Unlocked its Secrets (Little, Brown, 2004) is one of the stranger books I've read so far this year. It is neither a historiographical examination of shadows, nor strictly a scientific survey, nor yet a look at shadows in psychology, myth, religion, &c. It's some of each of those, but in no discernible systematic fashion. I found myself continually trying to figure out how Casati had gotten from one point to the next, before concluding that there must not be much rhyme or reason to the meanderings at all.

Wit and erudition this book has in abundance; some sections (particularly those pertaining to the role of shadows in early astronomy and early childhood cognition) are very interesting. Other parts just didn't do it for me. So, a mixed bag.