Mannion and Grego have penned an incisive, comprehensive account of the birth of astronomy in ancient times, through to the latest developments of the present and planned scientific endeavours in the future.
Chronologically written, this is a very interesting and well researched book, with a solid scientific background, charting the earliest observations of the night sky, from ancient cultures onwards, and describes the Erasthomeus measurements, the use of astrolabes, the heliocentric theory and the work, theories and discoveries of Tycho, Aristotle, Ptolemaeus, Hipparchus through to the greats - Copernicus, Galileo and Newton.
With the discovery of the telescope came a great slew of astronomical advances as more of the Universe was discovered, the heliocentric theory overturned, and the visible lunar surface mapped. The planets and their moons could be seen, new planets discovered, and the sheer magnitude of the Universe revealed.
Later as science progressed came the birth of astrophotgraphy, mapping of the infra-red spectrum, radio astronomy and ultra-violet and spectral analysis of starlight, enabling scientists to further understand the ever expanding cosmos and the material nature of it.
Also in the book are projects for the amateur astronomer to undertake, which is a great addition, and also useful reference charts, diagrams and many pictures to compliment the text.
I would very much recommend this book as I think it would appeal to the layman, student, amateur and serious astronomer alike - it is not a dense or dull academic tome, rather a concise and fascinating history of telescopic astronomy and its origins, written with a clear passion for the subject matter. Furthermore, there are useful appendixes at the back with web links to astronomical societies and research websites with which to continue pursuing your interest in astronomy.