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Carl Sagan: A Biography Paperback – October 21, 2008

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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"Carl Sagan: A Biography comes closer to the Carl I knew than other previous attempts at biography. Authors Moser and Spangenburg capture the drama, passion, and integrity of Carl’s lifelong quest to know the cosmos. May this work kindle that fire in others."
—Ann Druyan, wife of the late Carl Sagan and collaborator on many projects

About the Author

Ray Spangenburg and Kit Moser (Carmichael, CA) are freelance journalists who have coauthored more than fifty books on science, history, and critical thinking.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 181 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (January 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159102658X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591026587
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,093,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a book that claims to be a biography about Sagan, it contains very little information about the person Carl Sagan. The pages are filled with details about persons that worked with him, and quite a bit about the science he did, but very little about Sagan himself. One cannot avoid the conclusion that Moser and Spangenburg just could not dig up any information on Sagan, except for material they got from the Poundstone biography, to which they frequently refer. I could not finish this book. One gets the impression that they wrote it one afternoon (which is how long it will take you to read this short book). What a disapointment!
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Format: Paperback
The late Carl Sagan inspired folks of all ages in learning about our universe, and having fun while doing it.

As the book notes, he was a fine scientist, despite being denied tenure by Harvard in the late 1960s. The authors show how through much of his career, he was often looked down on by fellow scientists for being such a public spokesperson for real science, appearing on popular television shows and in mass market magazines.

Actually there are those now who say astronomers could use a good communicator like Sagan to build up support for research and exploration. Sagan's book and public television series, Cosmos, energized us with the possibilities of life on Mars, the mysteries of Venus and strange environments of gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn, and many places beyond.

The authors show some of the failings and setbacks in Sagan's rather short life, including divorces, science mistakes, and poor interpersonal relations. A lot of that was new to me, but when included in the book just add to the overall portrait of this popular pioneer.

In fact, making mistakes put Sagan in some special company. I'll never forget the Cosmos section on Percival Lowell and his long, but false, fascination of canals and civilizations
on the Red Planet.

Sagan goes to Lowell Observatory, shows us Lowell's large refractor telescope and then opens the wooden dome to a night sky full of stars, and planets. That by itself, made me a amateur astronomer for life. And I'll bet many more folks around the world.

We certainly miss Carl and his enthusiasm in this time of polarization and lack of enthusiasm for the joys of real science. This biography of Sagan shows us what we lost with his passing in 1996 and how we can move forward and learn so much more about that sky full of wonders that we see each evening. And learn with lots of joy and excitement!!
Earl
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This seems to be an adequate biography. It highlights key events is Sagan's personal and professional life. Sometimes it seems to digress into other persons and topics, or to be a summary of events in the "life and times" of Carl Sagan. On the whole I would say readers would be neither overwhelmed nor "underwhelmed" by it.
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