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Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier Hardcover – February 27, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (February 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393082105
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393082104
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A mass-media force in science explication, Tyson appears in print (Parade, New York Times, Natural History), on television (The Colbert Report, PBS programs), in social networks like Twitter, and at podiums to deliver speeches. Taken from those forums, his declamations during the past 15 years on NASA and American space policy are gathered in this volume. Enthusiastic about the space program but worried by its current doldrums, Tyson speaks squarely to an audience that might question its expense. Repeatedly batting away the complaint that social problems don’t justify spending money on space, Tyson perseveres by citing NASA’s miniscule share of the federal budget, pointing to technological spin-offs, and invoking planetary defense against rogue asteroids. Perhaps sensing popular indifference to such arguments, Tyson more generally tries to revive wonder about space in his pieces, taking up in how-cool-is-that manner such things as Lagrange points and plucky little spacecraft like Pioneer 10 and the Mars rovers. A genial advocate for the space program, Tyson offers diagnoses of its malaise that will resonate with its supporters. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

“There is much to enjoy here, and nothing too arcane for a non–space cadet to follow.” (Dava Sobel)

“A genial advocate for the space program, Tyson offers diagnoses of its malaise that will resonate with its supporters.” (Booklist)

“An enthusiastic, persuasive case to start probing outer space again.” (Kirkus Reviews) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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We love to listen to Mr. Tyson speak so can't wait to read the book.
snorer's wife
That aside, if you want to rekindle your love for space exploration and discovery by all means read this highly recommended book!
Book Shark
Sometimes the book can be repetitive in making some of these observations, but never-the-less they are important points.
Andrew Kear

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On October 4, 1957, the first artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched into orbit. This technological first marked the beginning of a new era of competition between the former Soviet Union and the United States. While on the surface the Space Race might have appeared to be spurred on by man's desire for knowledge and exploration, in truth, the only thing that made man's footprints on the Moon possible was the looming Cold War and aspiration to assert technological dominance over each other. Adjusted for inflation, the Apollo program today would cost over 200 billion dollars, twenty times the yearly budget of NASA. It is unlikely any of us alive today will ever see man step foot on the Moon or another planetary surface, or see the equivalent of what millions of people witnessed on July 20, 1969 when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. The overwhelming costs, technological hurdles, and political backdrop are what make the Space Race such a fascinating subject, and it would be hard to find someone who is so passionate about it or conveys these ideas better than astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Like his last novel Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries, Space Chronicles is a compilation of previously-published articles and talks over the last fifteen years, with a central theme of the Space Race and exploration (although some of the chapters don't really fit this theme entirely). It is mostly centered on the United States' involvement with a look at the development of NASA. It contains an original prologue by Dr. Tyson with a discussion on Space Politics, with a focus on the last three presidential administrations. A selection of Dr.
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59 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Space Chronicles: Facing The Ultimate Frontier by Neil deGrasse Tyson

"Space Chronicles" is the inspirational plea of why NASA matters to America and what space exploration means to our species. Renowned astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson dissects the politics of space and also enlightens the reader of the sense of awe that comes from space exploration and discovery. This book selections represent commentary, interviews, thought-provoking quotes reflecting a spectrum of fascinating topics from one of our icons of science. I share the love and awe of science that radiates from Mr. Tyson; this book arouses such emotions in witty, lucid fashion while stressing the importance of America retaining its global leadership in space.

This 384-page book is composed of thirty-six chapters and broken it in three Parts: Part I. Why, Part II. How, and Part III. Why Not. The first part of the book (Why) has to do with why we want to explore space. It appeals to emotions and wonder and the politics involved. The second part of the book (How), is of more practical science. The last third of the book (Why Not) wraps everything together and is the most passionate.

Positives:
1. A passionate, engaging prose that reflects the love of science of Dr. Tyson.
2. Fascinating topic in the hands of an icon of astrophysics.
3. Witty and humorous tone.
4. Profound without being unintelligible. An accessible book for the masses.
5. The politics involved. The author stresses the need to eliminate partisan politics.
6. Sixty-seven space tweets interspersed throughout the book. A clever way of injecting topical space wisdom.
7. The allure of space evidence by the most popular museum of the world, the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
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60 of 73 people found the following review helpful By James Alford on April 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First, let me say that there are few supporters of Dr. Tyson and his work who are more enthusiastic than I. I esteem him as probably the most important public educator in the United States. He is impossible to dislike, and his acumen for his chosen profession is dazzling.

That is why I have to give this book a poor review. It does transparent disservice to Dr. Tyson's glittering legacy. It is hopelessly disjointed, with no discoverable rationale behind its organization. "Tweets," interviews, lectures, and previously published articles are cobbled together higgledy-piggledy in what bears disheartening resemblance to something rushed to press for the sole purpose of drumming up desperately-needed revenue. I do not begrudge Tyson for avoiding an overly-nuanced exploration of astrophysics' bleeding edge; I just feel that the facts in this book could be condensed, and condensed more (much, MUCH more) elegantly.

My passion for Dr. Tyson and his work is in no way dimmed, and I have no trouble accepting that even the most brilliant minds can encounter difficulty when navigating the course of transferring information from the realm of the highly technical to that of the popularly appealing. Indeed, Tyson's prose is more often engaging than not--he just needs a better editor who will help us avoid having to roll our eyes at a factoid that was compelling in chapter 1, but is just downright annoying when it is announced to us (for the 10th or 12th time) in chapter 30 as though hot off the presses.

I await Tyson's next effort. In the meantime, however, I cannot endorse this effort in any capacity.
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