Meandering book felt more like an expanded magazine article
We get a hefty dose of scientific history which is appropriate but not my area of interest. We don't get a lot of detail on his theological writings that caused him to flee England for America and later made him unpopular with some politicians in America as well.
We also get a lot of off-topic meanderings such as his pages full of information on the Carboniferous era (milions of year ago) that form a rhetorical touchstone for the rest of the book but mostly seemed to fill the book with extra pages.
In fact, the large-type print, off-topic musings and small number of pages (204 in the uncorrected manuscript I read) left me more informed than I already was on Priestley but also feeling more like I'd been on a general tour of late 18th century Enlightenment science rather than having read a biography.
I rate this biography 3 stars out of 5.
This book can be found here on Amazon.com: The Invention of Air: A Story Of Science, Faith, Revolution, And The Birth Of America.
Reviewed on January 31, 2009.