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Lights of Mankind: The Earth at Night as Seen from Space [Hardcover]

by L. Douglas Keeney
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, December 13, 2011 --  
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Book Description

December 13, 2011 0762777559 978-0762777556 0
Earth at night, as the photos and essays of this book showcases, is an electric planet, glittering with billions of lights for all the solar system to see.  

Editorial Reviews


“Earthbound folks rarely get the chance to see how the planet's city lights glow from space. Several years ago, however, author L. Douglas Keeney noticed pictures being tweeted by astronauts on the International Space Station. The clear images of Earth's city lights were made possible by new camera technology that was able to shoot high-resolution photos even as the station moved at a rapid 17,500 miles an hour some 240 miles above Earth's surface. Keeney then got to work, pouring through more than 300,000 unmarked NASA photo, choosing 400 of the best images for his book the Lights of Mankind: The Earth at Night as Seen from Space.” —  

“A new book collects images that offer a different look at the Earth from space, when sunlight is replaced by the lights of human civilization. Lights of Mankind provides a sampling of some of the best such nighttime imagery from six continents. Many cities are visible in sharp detail, revealing their network of roads and patterns of development, from grids to hubs-and spokes to more irregular patterns, that are much harder to see during the day. Keeney matches the images with brief captions describing the images and including in many cases capsule histories of those cities. Included in the book are several essays from astronauts who have flown on the ISS, providing their views of what it was like to view, and photograph, the Earth at night.” —Space Review

“Imagining what Earth must look like from orbit leaves me almost breathless. And I had that feeling after looking through the amazing images in Lights of Mankind: The Earth at Night as Seen from Space.” —Kim D. Kolarik, The Courier-Journal (Louisville)


The books’s Earth-at-night photography as reviewed by the media:


“Stunning images.” —New York Daily News


"Earthlings are seeing their planet in a whole new light, thanks to NASA and its astronauts aboard the Internet-wired space station. They're beaming down dazzling images and guess-this-mystery-location photos via Twitter and have even launched a game. Landlubbers the world over are eating it up. From schoolchildren to grown-up business entrepreneurs and artists, the public is captivated and can't seem to get enough."  —Huffington Post


“Photos and thoughts beamed down from the International Space Station via Twitter are raising goose bumps across the planet.” —Daily Telegram

"For decades people have found themselves transixed by photos of Earth from space, enjoying a switch in perspective that stimulates the mind and awakens a sense of mystery."  —The Telegram




From the Inside Flap

Lights of Mankind is the story of how we’ve populated our planet as told through inspiring, panoramic photographs of Earth at night, images made possible by the latest light-sensitive cameras and the newly installed Cupola observation module on the International Space Station. These photos, taken by astronauts from the largest window ever used in space, have already awed hundreds of thousands of people.

The images, of course, beg explanation. Why did human beings settle here and not there? How is this glittering planet powered? The photographs tell a story of agriculture, geography, wars, disease, food supply, water supply, politics, and power supply. The uncertain sprawl of Southern California. The Nile River as it snakes toward the Mediterranean. The gridlike pattern of lights that writes the history of the American Midwest. This is the “unintended artwork of human habitation,” as author Keeney writes, artwork we now see first-hand, the first ever photographic portrait of Earth at night.

A trip into space is one of the rarest of human experiences, and this book includes first-person perspectives by the astronauts themselves—Don Pettit, Douglas Wheelock, Mario Runco Jr., Clayton “Clay” Anderson, and Sandra Magnus. What was it like? Their disarmingly honest answers help give us a feel of the human experience in space.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press (December 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762777559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762777556
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 11.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #757,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

L. Douglas Keeney is the bestselling author of more than a dozen histories of the events that shaped American and world history. He has been well reviewed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,, Newsweek, The New Yorker, The Courier-Journal, Publisher's Weekly, and others. He is a frequent speaker and a dedicated researcher.

"Keeney's passion is to unearth the lost voices of American history -- the stories of unselfish sacrifice, as he calls them -- and through those voices tell the stories that are the fabric of the nation we know today."

Keeney attributes his interest in books to his grandmother's attic. As a young boy in the 1960s, Keeney spent many happy hours digging through dusty boxes and an old desk, a project that occupied his imagination and gave rise to his work as an author. Oddly, it wasn't the objects he found in that attic that fascinated him but rather the crumpled newspapers wrapped around the mementos of his grandmothers life that triggered his interest in research and discovery. When unfolded, those papers spoke about World War II and events in American history that before were just words in a dull history book. Keeney was hooked

As he did years ago, Keeney continues to rummage through the attic - in this case the federal archives where American history reposes. Since his first book in 1992, Keeney has sifted through documents in 26 federal and military archives in 14 states. He discovered boxes of John F. Kennedy photographs at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida which JFK had visited during his presidency and from that discovery created a book with Pierre Salinger called John F. Kennedy: Commander-in-Chief. He found the first declassified copy of the US Government's doomsday scenario at the National Archives in Washington, DC, which was also released as a book. He unearthed long lost records of a nuclear accident in the Pacific at the Department of Energy archives in Las Vegas.

Keeney earned his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Southern California and was a sponsored post-graduate at the Institute of Advanced Advertising Studies in New York City. He worked for 18 years on Madison Avenue and Wilshire Blvd before writing his first book.

Keeney lives in Kentucky with his wife, the journalist Jill Johnson Keeney. and when he isn't working he is mowing the lawn - or organizing his own attic.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Cool to miss! February 8, 2012
By mbkh
Finally, We can see the patterns of lights at night on earth's greatest cities, nations and waterways like the astronauts have! It seems as though the whole world is laid out in magic , twinkling lights in this book, not just the one or two classic shots we all have come to know and love from space travel views of our "Blue Planet". This book would be fun for all ages, but where prior generations studied only maps or maps with relief, now children will see the shapes of exotic , far away places reflect the maps they have studied. One astronaut in the book is quoted as saying: "The Earth at night is a masterpiece of light and motion." With this book, now we can experience this, too. I LOVE IT !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating January 19, 2012
This is a really cool book. The views of Earth at night from space are beautiful, and are paired with daytime views and written descriptions so you can pick out points of interest. I leave it around where people can find it, and they inevitably do -- picking out part of the world they're interested in and getting lost in the images. It has started several fascinating conversations. I'm someone who loves maps, and this book is like adding a new layer of understanding of geography. Plus, it's just plain beautiful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I expected better coverage of the earth. June 20, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Some similar shots of the same area; some major cities missing. The quality of the photos and book construction are excellent.
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