15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Long Look at the Sun
The sun is all around us, both literally and now, with Richard Cohen's comprehensive, compelling tome, figuratively.
The author does a wonderful job tackling an enormous subject and observing it from both scientific and cultural perspectives. The reader learns of the sun's relationship to Earth and its people through seven years of research and travel to 18...
Published on November 17, 2010 by K. Kasabian
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but flawed
Richard Cohen has compiled an encyclopaedic book covering every aspect of the Sun - in mythology, culture, the arts, astronomy and the other sciences. It is well worth reading for the many interesting facts and anecdotes.
However, it does contain many flaws - for one thing, it wanders off-topic at times. He talks about Arthur C. Clarke's story "The Star" (my...
Published 20 months ago by Mr. A. J. Clark
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shines Brightly,
There are a lot of books that take one thing - salt, oysters, pencils - and examine its history, science, culture, literature, social impact, myths on and on from multiple viewpoints. In fact, this author did just that for swords in By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions (Modern Library Paperbacks). And like a sword, in unskilled hands this can be a boring blunt weapon. But in the hands of a curious, intelligent, well-rounded wordsmith this format can smoothly slice across subjects. Richard Cohen has written for the New York Times, The New Yorker and British newspapers, and it shows. His research on the Sun is wide-ranging, and we enjoy much more than scientific history with trips to medicine, religion and time keeping. It's 500 pages of fascination.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little too much,
This is a book that would be better if there were a little less of it. It's full of wonderful information, but the sheer quantity of it--and a certain lack of imagination in its organization--means that many readers will have trouble recalling much of it.
The premise of _Chasing the Sun_ is that it's about *everything* sun-related. It follows through! Thus we get individual chapters on solar origins, solar astronomy, solar astrology, solar culture, solar dances, solar cooking, solar philosophy, solar psychology, solar imagery, solar folklore ...
It's all great stuff, taken one chapter at a time. Taken all together, it's a little overwhelming. There's no unifying principle that leads from chapter to chapter (contrast this to, for example, Bill Bryson's _A Short History of Nearly Everything_). The upshot is a collection of pieces that are better individually than collectively.
There is a dazzling quantity of research on display here, and the writing is fluid, so I can recommend the book to anyone with an interest in the subject matter. You might, however, be better served by dipping into it than by trying to absorb it all in sequence.
4.0 out of 5 stars Open a door to a new view of the sun.,
Requires a lot of concentration to absorb the ideas but worth the effort. A broad sweep of scientific and historical views.
4.0 out of 5 stars engaging, lots of great info,
The sun, as we all know, is huge. And it makes for a huge topic as well. I don't know if Cohen covers everything there is about (or under) the sun, but he certainly makes a valiant effort. So we've got eclipses, the way the sun uses fusion, the past, present, and future life (and death) of our sun, its effect on climate, sunspots, the history of science surrounding the sun, its role in art, its role in music, its role in mythologies across the globe, a bit on Tycho Brahe's nose, a section on sunbathing and lots more. All of it, OK, almost all of it, is fascinating. And it's almost always told in engaging, enthusiastic, clear prose with a sense of personal voice. It's a book filled with details, digressions, and footnotes (some longer than this review). It's not a book to read straight through; at least, I couldn't do so. But it's definitely a book to have by your bedside for several nights (or weeks) running. And since you couldn't possibly retain all this fascinating detail, I'm sure it's a book that will reward rereading as well. Highly enjoyable and informative--a good combination
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book!,
This is the most comprehensive book about the Sun that I have read. I was astounded at the wide range of subjects that are detailed in it. If you want to fully understand the Sun, this book is a good place to start.
4.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating,
I came across this book at a bookstore in Bangkok and became engrossed in it during periods when I preferred to be inside an air conditioned room rather than being out in the intense Sun here so I am biased already in favor of having it do what a really good book should do which is to keep one turning the pages because the subject and the way it is handled so deftly holds the reader. For the past 25 years I have worked on solar energy projects and invented a workable solar cooking stove but like so many of its cousins is probably not culturally acceptable in many areas of the world where it might be most useful as the book well points out in one of the chapters. Without repeating what others have said I will add what I believe to be the most useful thing about the book: it gives one a thorough understanding of the complicated nature of global warming and its human causes. Worth every baht I spent on it.
4.0 out of 5 stars A clear labor of love; hard to sit down and read straight through,
This is an impressive encyclopedic resource of all things Sun-related. Clearly this is a labor of love for the author, who covered more solar connections than I'd ever considered existed. Some of it is a bit of a stretch, but I give Cohen props for excitement and comprehensiveness. There's science, history, stories, myth, culture and many random tidbits.
Unfortunately, I found the writing a little dry. The subject is also overwhelming, and I couldn't finish this off for quite some time. Eventually I decided to attack reading this book in chapters, not sequentially.
I would have liked color pictures and illustrations, and found myself wishing this could be translated to a large, thick, impressively beautiful coffee-table book.
As it stands, this is an amazing collection of information on one theme, and kudos for Cohen in tackling a wide-ranging topic in a such a well-organized manner.
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sun from antiquity to present,
In "Chasing the Sun", Richard Cohen presents to us a masterpiece of the history and impact our little star has had on the influence of mankind throughout history to the present. This is a very good read for one to understand the influence the Sun has had on all the myths, religions, and progression of mankind in influencing the evolution of mankind. An interesting read.
4.0 out of 5 stars How to learn everything about the sun,
This is an extremely comprehensive book about the sun. It includes past history of how the sun was viewed by earlier cultures and the role it played in their lives. I found it difficult to read as a normal book with a storyline. This was more like a book you read a little here and there, at least to me. As to the other reviewers who found the history part of it off, well, I guess my history knowledge is not that strong, so I didn't notice anything obviously wrong.
For those truly interested in astronomy, the solar system, various cultural histories, then this is a great book to delve into. At over 600 pages long, it covers more than you can ever imagine. Granted, I haven't finished the entire tome, but I pick it up and read sections at a time. It is something I will keep around because I never know when I will want to look up something interesting about the sun.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!,
This review is from: Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star That Gives Us Life (Paperback)
The reason why I loved this book so much is that he didn't just write about astronomy, he added lots of interesting bits of information, stories, myths, anecdotes, etc, that I just couldn't put it down.
Very interesting book, he should write one on the moon :)
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Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star That Gives Us Life by Richard Cohen (Paperback - September 13, 2011)