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Carl Sagan: A Biography [Paperback]

Ray Spangenburg , Kit Moser

RRP: 15.99
Price: 12.78 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Oct 2008
Astronomer, planetary scientist, astrophysicist, exobiologist, educator, public figure, skeptic—all these hats represent important parts of Carl Sagan’s complex, multifaceted career. Perhaps best known as the host of the popular television series Cosmos, Sagan offered to the world his extraordinary gift for cross-disciplinary research, his deep well of integrated visions and fruitful ideas, his vivid imagination, and his wealth of nonstop enthusiasm.
This concise, lively biography examines Carl Sagan’s steady growth as a man, as a scientist, and as a communicator—a man who had both odd quirks and great charisma, who had an immensely eclectic knowledge base and a unique understanding of the central place of science in the human experience, all of which dovetailed smoothly with his phenomenal ability to communicate.
Separate chapters are devoted to Sagan’s interest in the origin of life, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), and his work on Cosmos, where he collaborated with Ann Druyan, whom he eventually married and who remained his wife to the end of his life. There are also sections on Sagan’s public advocacy for science and critical stance toward pseudoscience and his role as an activist for the environment and the safe use of atomic power.
This updated, paperback edition of Carl Sagan: A Biography contains many new photos as well as textual additions by Ann Druyan. Veteran science writers Spangenburg and Moser have captured much of the enthusiasm, gift for effective communication, and unflinching honesty that characterized Carl Sagan’s life and career.

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Carl Sagan: A Biography + Cosmos: The Story of Cosmic Evolution, Science and Civilisation
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"Endorsement from Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan's widow and long-time collaborator: Carl Sagan: A Biography comes closer to the Carl I knew than other previous attempts at biography. Authors Moser and Spangenburg capture the drama, passion and integrity of Carl's lifelong quest to know the cosmos. May this work kindle that fire in others. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

RAY SPANGENBURG and KIT MOSER have written many books on science and the history of science. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Pioneer in Astronomy and Space Exploration 7 May 2010
By Arctic Voice Earl - Published on
The late Carl Sagan inspired folks of all ages in learning about our universe, and having fun while doing it.

As the book notes, he was a fine scientist, despite being denied tenure by Harvard in the late 1960s. The authors show how through much of his career, he was often looked down on by fellow scientists for being such a public spokesperson for real science, appearing on popular television shows and in mass market magazines.

Actually there are those now who say astronomers could use a good communicator like Sagan to build up support for research and exploration. Sagan's book and public television series, Cosmos, energized us with the possibilities of life on Mars, the mysteries of Venus and strange environments of gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn, and many places beyond.

The authors show some of the failings and setbacks in Sagan's rather short life, including divorces, science mistakes, and poor interpersonal relations. A lot of that was new to me, but when included in the book just add to the overall portrait of this popular pioneer.

In fact, making mistakes put Sagan in some special company. I'll never forget the Cosmos section on Percival Lowell and his long, but false, fascination of canals and civilizations
on the Red Planet.

Sagan goes to Lowell Observatory, shows us Lowell's large refractor telescope and then opens the wooden dome to a night sky full of stars, and planets. That by itself, made me a amateur astronomer for life. And I'll bet many more folks around the world.

We certainly miss Carl and his enthusiasm in this time of polarization and lack of enthusiasm for the joys of real science. This biography of Sagan shows us what we lost with his passing in 1996 and how we can move forward and learn so much more about that sky full of wonders that we see each evening. And learn with lots of joy and excitement!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disapointing 29 July 2011
By Francsois - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
For a book that claims to be a biography about Sagan, it contains very little information about the person Carl Sagan. The pages are filled with details about persons that worked with him, and quite a bit about the science he did, but very little about Sagan himself. One cannot avoid the conclusion that Moser and Spangenburg just could not dig up any information on Sagan, except for material they got from the Poundstone biography, to which they frequently refer. I could not finish this book. One gets the impression that they wrote it one afternoon (which is how long it will take you to read this short book). What a disapointment!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate 15 Mar 2012
By Will Jerom - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This seems to be an adequate biography. It highlights key events is Sagan's personal and professional life. Sometimes it seems to digress into other persons and topics, or to be a summary of events in the "life and times" of Carl Sagan. On the whole I would say readers would be neither overwhelmed nor "underwhelmed" by it.
14 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A good primer for new Sagan fans. 26 May 2009
By Brett Ryan Bonowicz - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
How is this 31 dollars?!?!?!?!?! Not even the hardcover costs this much! What kind of crazy premium is being charged for this kindle version!?!

UPDATE: 6.14.09

The price has dropped to a more reasonable 10 dollars. I found the Biography to be very brief and not as in depth as I would like a biography of Carl Sagan to be. Hopefully one day Ann Druyan will remedy this and write a real in depth biography of Carl.
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