I love this book, but I had to return it twice to Amazon. Pages 1 thru 18 fell out of both books they sent. Cambridge University Press is a good publisher, but they totally botched the binding of these books this time. I'm very disappointed. I love this book, but should I give it only one star just for the bad binding?
This would be a disservice to Phil Harrington's great effort. Am I reviewing the Seller, the Publisher, or the Author here? I should give it five stars for Phil's excellent work, and call the defects exceptions to the rule for Cambridge University Press. They have the all-time most successful astronomy book ever, in durability and otherwise in my opinion, 'Observing Handbook and Catalog of Deep Sky Objects'. A book that has lasted 20 years without losing a page, I have two copies. I only take one into the field, and it has gotten cold, gotten hot, and gotten wet!
The first 'Cosmic Challenge' book I ordered from Amazon, the section from the black title page to page 18 fell right out. The replacement, the same section came loose and fell out after lying open on the table for about an hour (can't blame QC for that). This was very surprising to me. I find it highly unlikely that I got the only two defective copies out of the whole lot. I hope Amazon investigates and looks into this problem quickly.
ANYWAYYY, this book is highly recommended. It's not only a ready reference for very relevant 'facts and factoids', from the naked-eye to extremely! deep space objects, familiar and not so familiar, but has this 'information-in-one-place' aspect that I find extremely useful. I noticed this when I paged thru it, and when I sat down and read, I found in-depth and authoritative information about some familiar objects that isn't anywhere else, and information on some obscure objects that is presently scattered about and would have to be hunted down and gathered together. This is a big book (almost 500 pages), lots of fun, interesting reading on lots of objects from Pleiades to Palomars. Phil has done an excellent job of choosing which objects to include, their history, why they are a challenge, and how to best meet those challenges to best observe each object.