Pythagoras: His Lives and the Legacy of a Rational Universe, By Kitty Ferguson

Pythagoras? At last, it all adds up

I wish I'd read this at school when I was grappling with Pythagoras's theorem: a little background information about the man who believed in the unity of all things, and showed that numbers made the world rational, wouldn't have gone amiss.

Kitty Ferguson's clear-eyed passion for her subject makes this account of the little we know of Pythagoras's life approachable and readable, although why a theorem that had been proposed long before Pythagoras put his name to it was finally attributed to him remains caught in the "hinge of legend and history". Ferguson also looks at his influence, from the young Plato sailing to Samos to search for men who once knew him, to his exaltation during the Renaissance.

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