Book Reviews: Winter 2012

The Cult of Pythagoras: Math and Myths, by Alberto A. MartinezThe Cult of Pythagoras: Math and Myths
By Alberto A. Martinez
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012
288 pp. with notes and index, $27.95

Professor Martinez unthinkingly retold commonly accepted myths about Pythagoras’ mathematical discoveries, until he questioned whether evidence existed to support the stories. After conducting painstakingly detailed primary source research and re-translating ancient sources, Martinez finds that proof is scarce. He asserts that although speculative myths appear to be true and satisfy the human quest for a juicy story, truth is ultimately more interesting than superstition and fiction. He encourages readers to embrace skepticism and to accept that some things about history will forever remain unknown. This book is a work of epistemology, asking what we can know, how we can know, and whether we can know at all.

Reviewed by Regina Brinza, Publications Intern, Heinz History Center

50 Great Moments in Pittsburgh Sports from the Pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: From the Flying Dutchman to Sid the Kid, by David M. Shribman & Richard “Pete” Peterson50 Great Moments in Pittsburgh Sports from the Pages of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: From the Flying Dutchman to Sid the Kid
By David M. Shribman & Richard “Pete” Peterson
Chicago: Triumph Books, 2012
242 pp., $14.95

From the first Pirates World Series win in 1909 to the naming of Pittsburgh as the best sports city in North America by The Sporting News in 2009, Western Pennsylvania has witnessed spectacular athletic achievements. In their new book, “50 Great Moments in Pittsburgh Sports,” David M. Shribman and Richard “Pete” Peterson review some of the best-known highlights in local sports. They examine not only Stanley Cup and Super Bowl wins, but also high school and university victories; not just the city’s three major league sports, but also boxing, golf, tennis, track, and basketball. Each event is told through a contemporary news story, set up by brief introductions from the authors. Most are also accompanied by a photo.

Reviewed by Regina Brinza, Publications Intern, Heinz History Center

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