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Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium [Paperback]

Carl Sagan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 July 1998
A collection of essays from Carl Sagan, ranging in subject matter from the invention of the game of chess to whether there is life on Mars, via discussions of abortion, Greek mythology and the power of numbers. It also provides rare glimpses of Sagan himself, and his struggle with myelodysplasia.

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Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium + Varieties of Scientific Experience
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing; New edition edition (2 July 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747277036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747277033
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 14.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 182,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sagan was Dir. of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies & David Duncan Prof. of Astronomy & Space Sciences at Cornell University.He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking & Voyage expeditions to the planets & was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for literature. He died in 1996.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I discovered Carl Sagan late in life and this book was my first introduction to his work. This book has now taken its place as one of the best books that I own. It is a collection of essays written by Carl Sagan covering a range of topics including an extremely touching story about the illness from which he died.
Carl Sagan is an excellent writer and I found this book so compelling that I really was unable to put it down. A fantastic introduction to his work.
Highly readable, very enjoyable and thought provoking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitively a great book! 18 Jan 1999
By A Customer
I've read it, and I thought it was so good I've gave it to my girlfriend!!! I think it was Sagan's last book. He speaks about life, religion, environmental problems, ethics, the cold war, abortion, and much more. I really learned a lot with his arguments... I've almost cried in the two last chapters, because in the first one he speaks about his health condition and in the last one his wife tells us he died... I've read the Portuguese translation of the book...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but not his best. 14 Jan 2004
This is well worth reading, but cerainly not his best book. I recommend 'Cosmos' or 'Demon Haunted World' if you really want to be blown away by Sagan and Science.
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sagan at his greatest. 26 Mar 2001
For those who have discovered Carl Sagan, little is needed here for you other than to know that this is Sagan at his finest, but then again, he always is. For those who have not yet encountered this mans work, you are hopefully about to discover something that will at times bring you to tears , but at all times will make you think, about you, about us, about where we live and about where we may go in the future IF we become wiser.
God bless Carl, If I could ever have met anyone dead or alive , it would have been you.
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11 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sagan stirs us and gives us hope in a blind world. 15 April 2000
By A Customer
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.
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