Tuesday, October 3, 2017

BookReview - Pushing Limits: From West Point to Berkeley & Beyond by Ted Hill

I have received this book almost 8 months back but I was not able to read it on time. The representative from American Mathematical Society didn't convey at that time what this book was. I was under impression that this must be some maths or stats related book. But it was an autobiography or memoir of Ted Hill.

Book Blurb
Pushing Limits: From West Point to Berkeley and Beyond challenges the myth that mathematicians lead dull and ascetic lives. It recounts the unique odyssey of a noted mathematician who overcame military hurdles at West Point, Army Ranger School and the Vietnam War, and survived many civilian escapades—hitchhiking in third-world hotspots, fending off sharks in Bahamian reefs, and camping deep behind the forbidding Iron Curtain. From ultra-conservative West Point in the ’60s to ultra-radical Berkeley in the ’70s, and ultimately to genteel Georgia Tech in the ’80s, this is the tale of an academic career as noteworthy for its offbeat adventures as for its teaching and research accomplishments. It brings to life the struggles and risks underlying mathematical research, the unparalleled thrill of making scientific breakthroughs, and the joy of sharing those discoveries around the world. Hill's book is packed with energy, humor, and suspense, both physical and intellectual. Anyone who is curious about how one maverick mathematician thinks, who wants to relive the zanier side of the ’60s and ’70s, who wants an armchair journey into the third world, or who seeks an unconventional view of several of society's iconic institutions, will be drawn to this book
The book starts with Mr. Hill or I should say Dr. Hill's childhood in parallel to his earlier days in military training.His struggle during training made his a strong character. Then it covers parts of his early postings, Vietnam war and returns phase. Next part covers his journey of being a notable mathematician. His Ph.D. thesis to first Ph.D. student to early retirement to volunteering professor in other countries. Ted has never compromised his personal front for his professional front. Sports and adventure were never out of his life.

I accept that I skipped many pages as I have recently read Vietnam war memoir and I don't know why but I was not able to read those sections again. Some suggestions for publishers design it like a novel, currently, length and width of the book gives an impression of some technical or educational book.

An okay read for normal readers but memoir readers will like this book. Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 3/5
  2. Title - 2/5
  3. Content - 3/5
  4. Overall - 1/5
Book can be found at - Amazon India & Amazon USA
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


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