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The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Second Edition (Library of Flight) [Paperback]

F. White
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 1, 1998 1563472600 978-1563472602 2 Sub
Using interviews with and writings by 29 astronauts and cosmonauts, Frank White shows how experiences such as circling the Earth every 90 minutes and viewing it from the moon have profoundly affected our space travellers' perceptions of themselves, their world and the future. He shows how the rest of us, who have participated in these great adventures, have also been affected psychologically by them. He provides a rationale for space exploration and settlement, describing them as the inevitable next steps in the evolution of human society and human consciousness, as the activities most likely to bring a new perspective to the problems of life on Earth. This text considers the possible consequences of a human presence in space, both for the pioneers who settle there and for those who remain on Earth. White imagines how having a permanent perspective from outer space will affect our politics, our religion, our social relations, our psychology, our economics and our hard sciences. He confronts the possibility of rebellion by a space colony and of contact with extraterrestrial beings. And, finally, he makes it clear that our fate is in our own hands, that we will shape our future in space effectively only by fashioning a human space programme, free of excessive nationalism and dedicated to the peaceful exploration of the space frontier.

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The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, Second Edition (Library of Flight) + The Way of the Explorer: An Apollo Astronaut's Journey Through the Material and Mystical Worlds, Revised Edition
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With his first book, White, a Boston systems-management consultant and writer for space journals, joins ranks with space-colonization evangelists Carl Sagan, Gerard K. O'Neill and their visionary ilk in presenting his theories on our space future. In his view, a new space movement is beginning, one which will require a philosophically grounded policy to drive it. Focusing less on emerging technology than on what he terms the Overview Effectthe paradigm shift experienced by astronauts who've responded deeply to the sight of Earth from spacehe here interviews 24 astronauts ranging from Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard to Sen. "Jake" Garn, who was a shuttle traveler before the Challenger tragedy. White sees space explorers as "explorer fish," venturing into space and, while creating new civilizations in three stages that he calls Terra, Solarius and Galaxie, furthering new growth in their own human evolution. A wild dreambut the author programs it provocatively within the bounds of science, letting it grow out of the awe he shows to be at the root of the Overview Effect.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

That we have no philosophy of space exploration has been seen as a failing of U.S. space policy. White attempts to develop both a philosophy and a psychology of space to guide future explorations. He argues that space exploration is the next step in evolution and will lead to a shift in human consciousness from an earth-centered frame of reference to one centered on the solar system and, eventually, the entire galaxy. Interviews with astronauts describing their experience with this "Overview Effect" lend firsthand authority to White's construct. For larger collections. Thomas J. Frieling, Bainbridge Junior Coll. Lib., Ga.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Series: Library of Flight
  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: AIAA; 2 Sub edition (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1563472600
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563472602
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #253,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Repetitious, Repetitious, Repetitious April 26, 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An astonishingly successfull attempt to take a one-page idea and repeat it enough to create an entire book. The author's premise is valid: Human beings who have looked at the earth from space return with a different view of of our planet not only literally, but philosophically as well. However, rather than expand on this idea, he simply repeats it. Page, after page, after page. I stuck with the book hoping the last section containing interviews with space travelers would redeem the work, but each interview was merely a copy of the first, which went something like this: "When I first glimpsed the earth from space, I was overwhelmed with its beauty. I gained a sense of how everything on earth was interconnected, and I knew I would never look at life the same way again". Save your money, and read this review a couple of hundred times for the same "Overview Effect" as you would receive from the book.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How the view from Space changes us December 24, 2008
Frank White's "The Overview Effect" is one of those rare books that gives a reason for NASA's existence that goes far beyond spin-offs, national pride, or even an investment in our future.

White explains how going into Space will change us, and make us better. The process starts with the Overview Effect that turns the entire Earth into our neighborhood. It continues from the Moon, when a single gloved thumb at arms length can cover everything we've ever known. This view is the Copernican Perspective, and it exposes our insignificance and vulnerability. Finally there is the Cosmic Insight, which occurs from the outer reaches of our Solar System, and inspires us to take our rightful place in the Universe.

White explains all this much better than I can in this quick review.

I am very puzzled by the negative reviews of this book. Maybe these people believe that "if you've seen one star you've seen them all". My guess is that there are some important differences in metaphysical assumptions about reality that cause people to either love or hate this book.

I'm not exactly sure what that difference is, but I suspect it has to do with our preconceived notions about humanity's place in the universe, and in our capacity to wonder.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Out of this world May 23, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In order for you to enjoy this book, you have to be a fan of "outer space", and be open minded about philosophy.
Mr. White has been labeled a "Space Philosopher" and rightfully so. I'm not a fast reader, and very rarely I would find a book that I just can't put down, and this is one of those books.

This is the best way I've found to enjoy this book.
Read the first 4 chapters in order, that will give you a basic solid understanding of what the thesis of the book is. It does get a little repetitive, but I think its due to Mr. White wanting to make sure you understand what he's talking about, and why he's talking about it. This 1st section of the book also includes many quotes from actual Astronauts, so its interesting to read what they thought of their experience.

Once you've done that, the fun part begins. Go to the table of content and find the chapters of the topics you are most interested in and read them. That's the process I'm going through now, and its working great.
The chapters vary in length, with the longest being roughly 20 pages long, which means you can easily go through 2+ chapters in a day if you like. As I said I'm a slow reader, and it seems like the 2nd section of the book is where its Philosophy heavy, but it reads more like notes of a "futurist", its quite fascinating.

One thing I've found helpful is to always have a pen with me, I would underline sentences, and make notes of certain ideas he's mentioning, it really helps the information sink in.

I personally am enjoying my experience so far reading this book (Second Edition), and I can see my self referring back to it in the future to revisit some of these ideas.
If your interested in Space travel and/or philosophical thinking about future life beyond on the planet "Earth", then you would enjoy this book.
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10 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just plain awful February 20, 2006

Speaking plainly, this is a wretched book. White's commentary is dull, pretentious and stupefyingly repetitious. The snippets of interviews with astronauts are short, scattershot and basically worthless. The book was inexplicably recommended by Lynn Margulis, which is why I tried it. Avoid, avoid!

Truth in reviewing: I didn't come close to finishing this turkey. Trust me, you don't even want to start it.


Peter D. Tillman
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8 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest book on the societal implications of space October 30, 2002
A must read for any aspiring space hero.
Get inspired. Get in action.
Edition 2 features interviews with Female space explorers as well.
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