Toby Lester discussed his two books and his wide journalistic interests in a March 2012 on Contemporary Science Issues and Innovations; the program was titled Renaissance Roots of Modern Science.
Toby Lester is an independent scholar who has written on a wide range of topics. He has a particular gift for bringing to life the context of historical developments, as demonstrated in his two books, The Fourth Part of the World (2009) and Da Vinci's Ghost (2011). Lester comes from a literary family -his parents and sister are also authors- so his craftsmanship was probably encouraged early on.
After graduating from the University of Virginia with degrees in English literature and French, Toby Lester became a Peace Corps volunteer and later as a United Nations monitor in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe. When he returned to the United States again, he joined the staff of the Atlantic Monthly magazine, first as a writer and eventually as managing editor. He produced a number of articles for other magazines and ultimately the two books for which he has received high praise.