This is a fabulous book, from Patricial Fara. It isn't a biography as I had originally thought, it is something much more than that. It looks at Newton's achievements as a scientist and thinker and then explores how his achievements affected science. It also looks at how Newton's ideas shaped the general public's perceptions of the natural world and how Newton was made into a hero, with statues being erected to him and his portrait being a popular addition to educated people's living rooms. I was very impressed by Fara's commitment to highlighting female scientists and the role of women throughout the book.
There is also a generous section devoted to heroic poetry written about Newton. This really got me thinking - back then poetry had a real function in terms of informing people about news events and achievements, nowadays we've lost this and I'm not sure that poetry has a real function any more, perhaps that's why in general poetry seems to need to struggle to find an audience. What does anyone else think?
Newton, The Making of Genius Patricia Fara, Picador