My review of Genius at Play: the Curious Mind of John Horton Conway, by Toronto-based writer Siobhan Roberts, was published today in Nature, under the title The mercurial mathematician and also under the above photo of Conway. I include a link to the image because Nature is behind a paywall. If you have access, you can find the article here; if not, all you need to know is that I give the book a very strong recommendation. And I guess it’s also important to mention that, as you might expect, there are three elephants in the book, on pp. 165, 378, and 379.
Nature, it turns out, is not content to be merely natural; it has a “house style.” Or at least its book review section does. A quoted sentence I particularly appreciated had to be excised because my surrounding text didn’t conform to house style. Here’s what Roberts wrote “at [what I called] one of many bewildering turns” in her attempts to establish the facts of Conway’s life:
Onward we tumble through the surreal mineshaft of memory.
Any biography must be a bit of a tumble; Conway’s is more surreal than most.
UPDATE: Roberts has published a long excerpt from the book in today’s Guardian. So you can see for yourself how good the book is.