Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony

Thomas, Lewis

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Collection (Essays)

Annotated by:
Shafer, Audrey
  • Date of entry: Jan-31-2005


Physician-scientist Lewis Thomas turns to pressing, threatening issues in this collection of 24 essays, many of which have been published in Discover magazine. The book opens and closes with meditations on nuclear warfare--the atom bombs of World War II and the escalation of worldwide tensions and technology that can combine to destroy the human race. In between, other essays, such as "On Medicine and the Bomb" and "Science and 'Science,'" also focus on these issues.

Less apocalyptic essays concern Thomas's experience with requiring a pacemaker, the state of psychiatry, lie detectors as evidence for essential human morality, and his abiding interest in language and scientific research.


Thomas acknowledges in this collection his increasing concern for the fate of the planet. Past pleasures, such as listening to classical music, are now tainted by his realization that all is not right with the world. For interspersed with all the remarkable scientific advances which have led to greater understanding of nature and health is the fact that now man can destroy not only himself, but the magnificent organism called earth.



Place Published

New York



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