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Institute of Historical Research

Michael Cooper

A more beautiful city

Robert Hooke was a very active scientist, but tends to be overshadowed by others, in particular Isaac Newton. In A more beautiful city Michael Cooper shows how Hooke has been treated somewhat unfairly in this regard. He explains how, rather than shutting himself away, Hooke was active in many aspect sof the life of the seventeenth century, and in particular in the rebuilding of London after the great fire of 1666. This rebuilding is the subject of most of the book, after a short biography of Hooke at the start.

Sometimes the book goes a bit over the top in making a martyr out of Hooke, for instance emphasising how poorly he was paid as curator Royal Society, making it look like he was on the poverty line - but then we hear of the thousands of pounds of income for his surveying work. Overall however, the book gives the reader a good account of the reasons why Hooke is less well known than others such as Newton or Christopher Wren. This book will be appreciated by those interested in the history of London as well as those wanting to know about Hooke's life or about 17th century life in general.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews