An excellent introduction to and overview of Galileo's life and work. This book is heftier than it looks at first blush, and is beautifully illustrated. And Doak is skilled at blending history with science, and humanizes Galileo with her use of anecdotes and quotes.
I have loved the story of his older daughter, Virginia (later Sister Maria Celeste), since reading Dava Sobel's "Galileo's Daughter," and this book includes wonderful information about her relationship with her father -- the fact, for instance, that biological sisters were not supposed to be placed in the same convent together, but that Galileo pulled some strings so that Virginia and her sister Livia would be allowed to be together. And Doak includes this beautiful quote from a letter Virginia wrote after Galileo was freed from prison and allowed to live out the rest of his life under house arrest:
"There are two pigeons in the dovecote waiting for you to come and eat them; there are beans in the garden waiting for you to pick them. ...When you were in Rome, I said to myself: 'If he were only at Siena!' Now that you are at Siena [where Galileo was staying with a sympathetic archbishop] I say: 'If only he were at home! But God's will be done."
But this book's main focus is, of course, how Galileo pretty much invented the idea that science ought to be about testing, experimenting, and observing, rather than obediently accepting logical ideas that have been passed down by (admittedly brilliant) thinkers.
An outstanding book for intelligent readers of all ages.