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Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star That Gives Us Life Hardcover – November 9, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
However, it does contain many flaws - for one thing, it wanders off-topic at times. He talks about Arthur C. Clarke's story "The Star" (my favourite short story) and Asimov's "Nightfall", which are great stories but nothing whatsoever to do with the sun. He also talks about global warming, being seduced by Piers Corbyn's theories, to which he devotes several pages, where he swallows the assertion by climate-change deniers that scientists tampered with the evidence. There is also a discussion of photography, which admittedly requires light to work, but it is not strictly to do with the sun, any more than the workings of the eye are.
Another flaw is the fact that the setting sun shines along some of the streets of new York on certain dates because they are aligned 29 degrees to the East, which Cohen makes quite a big thing of. But the same sort of thing would happen if it was 19 degrees or 9 degrees, or the the East, so it is absolutely unremarkable.
There are many other examples of science which is badly explained and confusing, or just plain wrong:
p25 The sun is not overhead at midday at the equinox, except at the equator. Also, the sun does not seem to "linger for several minutes" at dawn.
p26 The speed of the Earth varies by 3%, not 6%.
p49 The explanation of precession of the equinoxes is unclear. I know what he is trying to say, but cannot make sense of his explanation.
p53 "Most pyramids oriented to the Equinox were aligned so that, on that date, they seemed to swallow the setting Sun...".Read more ›
The author does a wonderful job tackling an enormous subject and observing it from both scientific and cultural perspectives. The reader learns of the sun's relationship to Earth and its people through seven years of research and travel to 18 different countries. We learn of the sun's significance on a very large scale - from its life-giving properties and influences in our solar system to its place in our art, climate, rituals and mythology, to name a few. That's a daunting task and Cohen skillfully gathers an enormous amount of information and condenses it into a fascinating and accessible tale.
The real success of this book overall, though, lies with Cohen's skill in facilitating a conscious relationship between us and our solar system's only star. By book's end, it is impossible to ever see the sun the same way again. Recommended.
Unfortunately this book is riddled with tiny factual errors which are detrimental to the overall effect. Most of them I passed over with a scowl, thinking something didn't "seem right" but not really consciously registering the mistake. However, one that really stuck in my craw was the blithe assertion that the name "Lucifer" appears anachronistically in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament book of Isaiah. It doesn't. Five minutes' worth of research was enough for me to find out what the Hebrew _actually_ says (and it isn't "Lucifer," which first appeared in the medieval Latin Vulgate translation, BTW.) I wonder how many other mistakes I didn't catch - even subconsciously - simply because I am ignorant of the subject matter. Perhaps these will be fixed in the final version, but I have to base my review on the version I read, which is an Advance Uncorrected Proof.
So why did I award four stars to a "nonfiction" book that is patently untrustworthy? Because it was interesting. Because, giving the benefit of the doubt, I hope that the factual errors will be corrected in the final press version.Read more ›
The fact is that the strength of UV rays IS GREATLY diminished at sunset. I think that what he really meant was that gazing at the sun at sunset is dangerous because the viewer looks directly at the sun for much longer than he or she would, in bright sunlight, thinking it's not at all dangerous.
However, what is quite dangerous is the author's comment that the strength of UV rays is "barely diminished" at sunset! The reason this is dangerous is that it might lead the public to think that UV radiation is not significantly diminished (hour by hour) in the early morning, or after 4:00 or 5:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and thus they might decide to not exercise outside in the early morning or the late afternoon hours. Exercising (walking, biking, running, etc.) is MUCH safer in the early morning and in the late afternoon, because both UVA and UVB are significantly less at those times!
I love this book! It is so well written and so comprehensive, and I've learned so many things about our Sun that I never knew, or never imagined.
The writing is exceptional, as is the author's research, and I simply can't imagine anyone who has read "Chasing the Sun", giving it less than 5 stars...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Engrossing fascinating tale of adventure and real-life guts and glory experience of a lifetimePublished 13 months ago by Star Gazer
Within our universe the sun is rated as a mediocre star, but within our solar system the sun is the nucleus and regulator of all aspects of life, and thus stands out as our unique... Read morePublished on July 29, 2014 by aron row
Requires a lot of concentration to absorb the ideas but worth the effort. A broad sweep of scientific and historical views.Published on December 15, 2013 by magpie
This book is an interesting collection of many angles on the Sun, from mythological and cultural, to artistic, astronomical, medical (sun-triggered diseases, and sun-derived cures)... Read morePublished on April 18, 2013 by Alyssa A. Lappen
The sun, as we all know, is huge. And it makes for a huge topic as well. I don't know if Cohen covers everything there is about (or under) the sun, but he certainly makes a valiant... Read morePublished on April 5, 2013 by B. Capossere
This is the most comprehensive book about the Sun that I have read. I was astounded at the wide range of subjects that are detailed in it. Read morePublished on February 7, 2013 by Steven Magee
I came across this book at a bookstore in Bangkok and became engrossed in it during periods when I preferred to be inside an air conditioned room rather than being out in the... Read morePublished on January 29, 2013 by Byron
This is an impressive encyclopedic resource of all things Sun-related. Clearly this is a labor of love for the author, who covered more solar connections than I'd ever considered... Read morePublished on January 20, 2013 by Jill Florio
In "Chasing the Sun", Richard Cohen presents to us a masterpiece of the history and impact our little star has had on the influence of mankind throughout history to the present. Read morePublished on January 18, 2013 by Sassan31