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“A Dazzling Book!” — ALA Booklist

* Starred Review

Watson is an excellent writer, and if this book doesn’t become the popular primer on its subject for quite some time, we’ll have to call out the conspiracy theorists to explain. . . This is a story and a book chock-full of great and fascinating figures. . .  A dazzling book, as seems completely appropriate.

“Masterful… important” – Christian Century

"... this is why Watson’s book is so important, why it can be such a boon to preachers and teachers: he reminds us just how magical and mysterious light really is."

Read the full review here.

“Impressive in scope…”– Country Life

"The book is impressive in scope, shifting seamlessly between cultural beliefs and historic facts. . . thoroughly researched and clearly written."

“Never less than engaging…” — New Statesman

"Watson leaps with brio into a story that encompasses the history of art, the history of religion, the history of philosophy and the history of science. The book’s pages are tightly packed with everything from arc lamps to Zoroaster and much in between, but it is never less than engaging."

“Endlessly fascinating” — Book Browse

"Watson's writing style borders on poetic. . . I found Light to be endlessly fascinating and remained thoroughly captivated by the history presented. . . a delight." -- Book Browse

“A delightful journey”– Washington Post

"Bruce Watson’s new book, a sweeping cultural and scientific history of our understanding of light, is filled with vivid and charming scenes. . . a delightful journey. . . .Watson’s enthusiasm for his subjects is infectious." -- Alan Lightman


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“Lyrical and deft” — Nature

“Watson’s touch is lyrical and deft….[LIGHT] is an eye-catching display, reflecting and refracting like a gemstone.”—Nature

“Illuminating…”– Dallas Morning News

" illuminating tour of the science of optics, the history of art and the psychology of what it means to see the sun rise every day in the east...Watson deftly guides the reader through the evolution of ideas without getting bogged down in technical detail."

Read the full review here.

Advance Praise for “Light: A Radiant History…”

"Bruce Watson's new book . . . has the buoyant tone of a writer who is having fun. . . Light, the phenomenon, has fascinated people for millennia. Light, the book, will fascinate them now." ―Charles C. Mann, author of the New York Times bestsellers 1491 and 1493

"Light takes us on a lyrical and illuminating journey from myth to scripture, canvas to cathedrals, prisms to fiber optic networks, all part of our attempt to understand--and to capture--the very essence of the radiance around us." ―Laura J. Snyder, author of EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: JOHANNES VERMEER, ANTONI VAN LEEUWENHOEK, AND THE REINVENTION OF SEEING

". . . a great mystery narrative that chronicles how architecture, art, religion, and mythology dovetail with science to provide our modern understanding of light." ―Dick Teresi, coauthor of THE GOD PARTICLE and author of LOST DISCOVERIES

"Luminous, enlightening, informative, and wide-ranging. Watson has dared to take on the subject of light in all its magnitude and majesty." ―Paul Mariani, author of EPITAPHS FOR THE JOURNEY and GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS: A LIFE

Publishers’ Weekly – “engrossing”

Watson (Freedom Summer), a frequent contributor to Smithsonian, leads an engrossing tour of humans’ longtime fascination with and study of light. . .Weaving his own journeys and experiments throughout the work, Watson provides a panoramic view of human engagement with this most curiosity-inducing phenomenon. (Feb.)

Kirkus Reviews – “ingenious”

* Starred Review

An ingenious combination of science and art history.”

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