In “The Calculus Wars”, Jason Bardi writes about the bitter
fight in the beginning of the 18^{th} century between Isaac Newton and
Gottfried Leibniz over the right to be known as the inventor of
calculus. Since this episode paints an extremely unflattering picture
of the two great men, it is either ignored or only mentioned in passing
by most authors writing about the history of mathematics.

The book provides a brief biography of each of the two men, including
the background in each case that led them to independently invent
calculus. It attempts to explain why Newton did not publish his papers
on his version of calculus (“fluxions and fluents”) even
though he had mentioned it in some of his letters to a few of his
contemporaries and had invented it about *two decades* before
Leibniz published his first paper on calculus. It shows how the pride
and vanity of these men led them into this fight and how they were not
shy of abusing their respective positions to gain an advantage over
each other.

The book contains very little mathematics, presumably to avoid scaring off lay people. I think this is a shame - I would have really liked to see some examples of early expositions of the principles behind calculus and the notations used therein. Perhaps this could have been accommodated in a couple of appendices.

The author uses a lot of digressions and digressions within digressions which were quite a bit irritating for me. Though there is a separate appendix containing the bibliography, in most of the places the author does not cite the actual reference used.