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Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier Hardcover – February 27, 2012
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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
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
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Of all the ails which beset Man, I believe a lack of education underpins them all. In a world of useless religious fervor, reality television and biased media, this book invites the reader to be part of something that's worth fighting for.
The book gets a 5, but the audiobook loses some stardust and gets a 4.
A warning, and the ONLY reason this gets four insted of five stars. If (like me) you bought the kindle version and listened to some of it via audiobook, take heed. The narrator of the Audible product is (unfortunately) not Tyson, but someone who is a little robotic and who has a tendency to mispronounce just enough of the words to approach "Oh...come on" status. Examples: Anton Von Leowenhoek's name, Jai Alai, tertiary, Xenon (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VX1xRtDXIvE), and Saturn "Vee" (as opposed to Saturn V, as in five) all drove me crazy when repeatedly pronounced incorrectly. Knowing Dr. Tyson's respect for language, I suspect he too would cringe at these pronunciations.
Why not five stars? Well, the book gets very repetitive. The book is mostly a collection of essays and transcripts of speeches/interviews. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but as you read through it in one swoop, it becomes obvious that this isn't a book with contents that were planned out to flow as a book, but it is a collection of related materials. And it becomes repetitive. Those who are interested in these topics and have heard Neil's speeches or the Start Talk radio show, are probably not just familiar with the points that are being made, but also with the jokes and the analogies being drawn.
That doesn't make it a bad book. In fact, it is a very good book. But it is probably something people should know before they buy this book.
If you read this on the kindle app, on a laptop, with the two page view open, it gets confusing when you try and click on the bibliography link. It shows two entries. One on the left page, one on the right. It's not clear wich one is relative to the link you clicked on. Minor deal.
It did what I needed it to do: Held my attention from beginning to end. I'm notorious for losing interest in a book quickly. The short essay collection style writing was really nice even though not all of it was brand new fresh.
Yes. You should read this. Even if you don't know the basics of physics or math. Yes, you. It is a great way to educate your self regardless of your level. NDT does a great job speaking to everyone in the room despite the fact he's an Astrophysicist. He's an educator first, super genius second.