The Swerve is a non-fictional account of the rediscovery of On The Nature of Things in the 15th century, originally written by Lucretius centuries earlier around 50 BC. Lucretius’ ideas were very modern, although not based in actual science, he reasoned the world to be made up of atoms, or indivisible molecules. He also argued logically against the existence of the afterlife, and the pursuit of pleasure through learning and meditation. Chapter 8, which actually discusses the contents of Lucretius poem ~50BC, was by far my favorite chapter.
The book itself focuses on a Roman scholar and papal secretary, Poggio, who re-surfaced the book and its ideals ~1400. Poggio’s life as a scholar was interesting, but for myself, not as engaging as the either the first-hand material or the influence of the material on our great thinkers since Poggio and our current “modern” ideals, which are explored much further towards the end of the book.
Recommended for any interested in how books can change the future. Be ready for a slow ride with with a good ending crescendo.