Stewart, Matthew 1963–
Stewart, Matthew 1963–
CAREER: Writer, philosopher, and management consultant. Mitchell Madison Group (management consulting firm), New York, NY, founding partner.
The Truth about Everything: An Irreverent History of Philosophy, Prometheus Books (Amherst, NY), 1997.
Monturiol's Dream: The Extraordinary Story of the Submarine Inventor Who Wanted to Save the World, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Matthew Stewart was educated in philosophy and spent much of his youth in Barcelona, Spain, factors that have heavily influenced his writings, including The Truth about Everything: An Irreverent History of Philosophy and Monturiol's Dream: The Extraordinary Story of the Submarine Inventor Who Wanted to Save the World.
In The Truth about Everything, Stewart recounts the history of Western philosophy and strives to establish an unconventional definition of philosophy that rejects Western influences. Paul Rosenberg, writing in the Philadelphia City Paper Online remarked that Stewart "makes a lot of sense getting down to brass tacks: there's plenty of hot air in philosophy and he's got the eye for it…. Anyone thinking of a major in philosophy would do well to read this first." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly called The Truth about Everything "a deliciously iconoclastic and often funny historical survey of Western philosophy."
Monturiol's Dream traces the life of nineteenth-century inventor Narcis Monturiol. Monturiol was a political revolutionary who studied law but as a self-trained engineer developed what Stewart asserts was the first true submarine, the Ictineo. In his book Stewart attempts to bring the life of this technological and political visionary—mostly unknown outside of his native Barcelona—to the forefront. Considering the book "highly recommended," Choice critic M. W. Carr described the story as "more than a tale of a successful inventor … it also details the frustration and challenges Monturiol had with financing, polities, and society's view of new ideas and inventions. This book should be read for its engineering features and for its insight into social structures." Tim Rauschenberger wrote in a review for Christian Science Monitor that "Stewart has done a great service in bringing Monturiol to the surface…. His choice application of wit is sometimes necessary to prevent the routine tragedies of a tumultuous time from dragging down the narrative. And the book contains scores of interesting illustrations that help us keep Monturiol's acquaintances, benefactors, and adversaries straight." In a review for American Scientist, Cindy Lee Van Dover called Monturiol's Dream "a roller-coaster ride through the inventor's trials, triumphs, frustrations, despair, capitulation and penury…. We are fortunate to have Stewart's remarkable book to help preserve the memory of the Ictineo and of its inventor." James A. Buczynski of Library Journal commented that "Stewart vividly and suspensefully narrates the evolution of Monturiol's revolutionary submarines."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Scientist, September-October, 2004, Cindy Lee Van Dover, review of Monturiol's Dream: The Extraordinary Story of the Submarine Inventor Who Wanted to Save the World, pp. 478-479.
Choice, November, 2004, M. W. Carr, review of Monturiol's Dream, p. 505.
Christian Science Monitor, August 3, 2004, Tim Rauschenberger, review of Monturiol's Dream, p. 17.
Library Journal, July, 2004, James A. Buczynski, review of Monturiol's Dream, p. 114.
Publishers Weekly, January 13, 1997, review of The Truth about Everything: An Irreverent History of Philosophy, p. 64.
Philadelphia City Paper Online, http://citypaper.net/ (March 20-27, 1997), Paul Rosenberg, review of The Truth about Everything.