This is one of the most impressive books I own (out of about 1700). With this work alone Carl Sagan has bequested, if we (as a species) have the intelligence to take note, probably the most valuable and timely gift possible. If only potitians of all persuasions can have the courage to recognise the imperative of consensus (to eliminate political advantage) in acknowledging their predecessor's follies, and how crucial it is that they tackle - as a matter of extreme urgency - the issues raised. Then we can all rest easier when considering the welfare of our children and future generations - but particularly when we just simply stop for a moment to contemplate this amazingly beautiful and possibly unique planet and all that it supports. I wonder if it is guilt for our selfish despoiling of the atmosphere, of electing shortsighted politicians who promise greater riches and omit to reveal the true costs, as Carl Sagan never fears to do (after all, he wasn't running for office!) - costs that we know are there but refuse to see them - that is behind the curious malaise that exists these days (in the West, at least)? I place this book beside Hermann Hesse's 'If the War Goes On...' (which focuses on the inner self as Sagan does upon the outer, and with almost the same eloquence), and also beside Philip Slater's magnificent testament to the future 'A Dream Deferred' - the warmth of which remains with me. Of these three remarkable human beings, Sagan is the one who makes you want to do something now, write to a politician, walk or use the train instead of the car, install solar cells.... The others, well, they give you beautiful and gradiose dreams which maybe, like Carl Sagan's, will come to pass. Let's hope.