Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
pretty, but messy.
on May 17, 2009
I reviewed a copy of the instructor's edition of as a candidate text for an Astronomy 101 class.
It is very pretty, and there is some good content, but it is not particularly well organized for a student.
The illustrations are numerous, large, and colorful. They are also crowded with insets, labels, and text in boxes.
The typography and page layout are noisy, inelegant, and distracting. I counted as many as 4 different typefaces (in three different colors) in the body text of a single spread.
The text is dense on the page, but the descriptions and explanations are interrupted by pointers to "Ace Astronomy" content, sidebars entitled "Window on Science", "Reasoning With Numbers", etc.
The index is sparse and oddly unhelpful.
The overall impression is that the author and editors are trying to cover too much material it too thin a book.
There are too many kinds of enhancements, and too many instances of enhanced content, inserted at the expense of a clear and orderly presentation.
The frequent revisions to include the most up-to-date images and information -- announced on the cover of each new edition like cover lines on a popular magazine-- make the book seem somewhat disposable. As discouraging a prospect for the student who wants to keep the text, as for the student who plans to sell it back to the bookstore.
I will not be using this text for my class.