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Watchers Hardcover – November 18, 1963

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (November 18, 1963)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670750433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670750436
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20 inches
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,203,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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This book had me glued to it from start to finish. It covers everything from the Chaldean's clay tablets up to the work of Carl Sagan. Since it was published in 1963 and 1966, there are a few passages that reflect on the expectations of the NASA missions of the then near future--especially unmanned probes to the planets and the upcoming Moon landing--but everything before is covered in thorough but easily understood detail, save a few footnotes in Latin, French, German, etc. Ley breaks up the history into segments turning on the most important discoveries made by scientists such as Copernicus, Galileo, and Newton. The book continues on with a description of all the then known Solar System components. He then finishes with a section about Deep Space. All the while he describes who these scientists were and why they were involved in astronomy, and also the hundreds of associated scientists (and others) who supported, revised, or dismissed their discoveries. Throughout his narrative, he never loses the connection from one astronomer to the other, and the history has a connected feel passing from step to step. Some parts of the book remind me of the contemporary works of James Burke of Connections fame because of the overlapping time or concepts and the inclusion of other scientists, politicians, lay persons, or religious figures who had relevant input on a particular discovery, good or bad. It was also fascinating to read about how an astronomer could be so brilliant with one discovery, and absolutely intellectually blind with another due to various reasons.
The only dawback in this work is that there are a few minor mistakes concerning dates--but they are easliy overcome by paying attention to the story.
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