To the visitors of Galileo’s Daughter web site,
Walker & Co. is a singular presence in the American publishing industry today. This independent, family-owned publisher, has been doing this for more than half a century, in New York City. The company was founded by Sam Walker in 1959, an era when the first satellite had just been launched and department stores were the primary booksellers in America. They strived to remain independent in times when the book industry needed its independence more than ever.
From its very start, the company showed an inclination towards diversity, matching Sam and his wife's, Beth, tastes. They still keep diversity as their main focus today. Out of these varied tastes, history has always been favored. Authors like Harrison Salisbury, or, more recently, Dava Sobel, Michael Allin, and Mark Kurlansky have been the company’s guests.
Science is another passion for the publishing house. Isaac Asimov, the prolific science fiction writer, made them proud to publish his creations. Lately, other talented writers like Kitty Ferguson and Tom Standage have added valuable science writings to the company’s portfolio.
Soon after Walker & Co. was founded, Sam’s wife, Beth Walker, started a new division dedicated to children. Since then, this division has been a cornerstone of the company. With Isaac Asimov writing for the young readers, but also for the older ones, they have published many books that have made the delight of their young readers. Other renowned authors have joined the gallery: Barbara Cooney, Joyce Hansen, Anne Rockwell, Tomie de Paola, Anna Myers, Oat and Fred McKissack, Michael McCurdy, and Kevin O’Malley.
Mystery is also one of the favorite topics of Walker & Co. Starting with John Le Carré and his George Smiley, continuing with the crime novels of John Creasey and, then, with Jeanne Dams, Carol Lea Benjamin, Bill Pronzini, james Sallis, and many, many others, they tried to bring mystery in their readers’ lives.
There is also the Large Print division, focused on the inspirational marketplace, founded about thirty years ago. They have published the works of Max Lucado, Billy Graham, Catherine Marshall, C.S. Lewis, and many others, in order to make their creations available to those who prefer large type editions.
The publishers hope that their books will continue to challenge, surprise, and intrigue you readers at the same time. They promise to remain the same devoted providers of high quality books and maintain the interest for true literature, art, science, fiction and mystery alive.
"Whatever the course of our lives, we should receive them as the highest gift from the hand of God, in which equally reposed the power to do nothing whatever for us. Indeed, we should accept misfortune not only in thanks, but in infinite gratitude to Providence, which by such means detaches us from an excessive love for Earthly things and elevates our minds to the celestial and divine." – Galileo Galilei
The book Galileo’s Daughter by Dava Sobel is inspired by her fascination with Galileo’s genius, and the surviving letters addressed to Galileo by his eldest daughter, Suor Maria Celeste, a Poor Clare nun. The book presents a surprising portrait of this woman “of exquisite mind, singular goodness, and most tenderly attached to me”, as Galileo himself describes his daughter.
Galileo Galilei had a musician as a father and tried to enter the monastery at first, only later demonstrating his skills and becoming the famous scientist we have all heard of. It is surprising that, even without him leaving Italy at least once during his life, Galileo’s discoveries and inventions have made the tour of the world.
He even brought new evidence to support Earth's revolution movement, and this belief brought him an accusation of heresy from the Inquisition. As a result, he was condemned to house arrest for the rest of his life.
Galileo had three children with the beautiful Venetian Marina Gamba. Of all three, the eldest showed the same brilliance, sensibility and industry like her father, later becoming his confidante.
She was born in 1600, and, at the age of thirteen, Galileo brought her to a convent in Florence. Here, she was given the name Maria Celeste, or Suor Maria Celeste. Thanks to unconditional support, she became the source of Galileo’s strength and inspiration, guiding his tumultuous and productive life. Her letters brought peace of mind and holy grace to her father, as we can see from the translations that Ms. Dava Sobel made from Italian.
Ms. Sobel’s incursion into the two parallel worlds, the public life of Galileo and the sequestered world of Suor Maria Celeste, reveals to us the images of Rome under the papal court and Florence under the domination of the Medici family, in those times when the human perception about the universe was going to be overturned.
This is the era marked by the Thirty Years'War and bubonic plague. This is the time when a visionary man, a devoted catholic and scientist, had to reconcile his faith in heaven with the heaven revealed by his telescopes.
A captivating combination of scientific adventure and human drama, just like the author's other masterpiece, Longitude, this book is deemed unforgettable by readers and critiques alike.
Dava Sobel is the former science reporter of the New York Times and an award-winning writer. She has contributed appreciated articles to publications like Discover, Audubon, The New Yorker and Life. Her activity as an editor for Harvard Magazine materialized into high posture writings about science history and scientific research.
Since her childhood, Ms. Dava Sobel has been fascinated with the personality of Galileo Galilei. Her last book revives the illustrious scientist’s times and reveals novel aspects about Galileo’s relationship with Maria Celeste, his daughter and a Poor Clare sister. To document her book, Ms. Sobel traveled four times to Italy, searched and translated old original documents, out of which 120 letters that sister Maria Celeste addressed to her father.
Ms. Sobel’s Galileo’s Daughter is not her first novel published under the label of Walker & Company. A former book, Longitude, is already listed among international best-sellers, having been translated to over twenty other languages. The book has received several international awards, out of which we can mention the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award, France's Le Prix Faubert du Coton, England's Book of the Year, as well as Italy's Il Premio del Mare Circeo.
As recognition of her merits with Longitude, Ms. Dava Sobel was granted American Geographical Society fellowship. The Public Broadcasting Service NOVA made a television documentary called Lost At Sea – The Search for Longitude, an adaptation of Ms. Sobel’s book Longitude, aired in 1998. Currently, NOVA is developing another television documentary based on Galileo’s Daughter. The A&E Network broadcasted the four hours long dramatization miniseries on Ms. Sobel’s Longitude in 2000, a co-production with Granada Films, whose success was also guaranteed by the participation of Jeremy Irons.
Ms. Dava Sobel has also had an active life as a speaker for the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, The Smithsonian Institution, The Explorers Club, London's Royal Geographical Society, The Folger Shakespeare Library, The New York Public Library, BookExpo America 1998 and The Los Angeles Public Library.
The author of Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter has also appeared on several television and radio programs, including National Public Radios: All Things Considered, Fresh Air and The Connection, in company of Christopher Lydon, and also in C-SPAN’s Booknotes, ABC World News Tonight, and The Today Show.
Ms. Dava Sobel currently lives in East Hampton, in the southeastern Suffolk County, New York.