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Mars: The Inside Story of the Red Planet [Hardcover]

Heather Couper , Nigel Henbest
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Oct 2001
The authors look at how our knowledge of our nearest planetary neighbour - Mars - has grown, and assess the role it might play in our futures. They look at the old myths associated with Mars, the fears of Martian invasions, and take the story up to date to show what we now know about the planet in the aftermath of the 1996 meteorite that may provide evidence for life and from the discoveries of the recent probes. They also assess whether Mars could form a crucial stopping point for further exploration.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing; Re-issue edition (4 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747235430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747235439
  • Product Dimensions: 27.9 x 21.1 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,783,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'intelligent and down-to-earth...[MARS] manages to combine hard facts with fascinating speculation' -- Good Book Guide

About the Author

Heather Couper is a broadcaster and writer on astronomy, space and science. She has presented and produced series for the BBC, Channel 4, Discovery and Learning among others. Nigel Henbest is also a leading science writer, broadcaster and producer and the author of 32 books that have been translated into 27 languages.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ONLY book you'll need about Mars 15 Dec 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I'm not going to talk about the planet Mars here, because if you're reading this then you're almost certainly already "into" Mars, you know what an amazing planet it is, and are just checking out this review because you're wondering to yourself if you should fork out for yet another Mars-related book, wondering if it has anything new to offer you, if it's different to any of the other books about Mars sitting there on your shelf...
Well, let me set your mind at rest. Yes, you should write that cheque or give that credit card number; yes, it has a lot of new material and information to offer you. And yes, it is different to those other volumes gathering dust on your shelf. So different, in fact, that if you buy this new book, you can probably give most of your existing Mars library to Oxfam, because if you buy MARS then you won't need any other Mars book for quite a while.
MARS basically takes a deep breath and draws a line under everything we've learned about Mars to date. Spaceprobes, telescopic observations, they're all in there. The exietence of water, past and present, on Mars is covered in great detail, as is the fascinating but hair-tearingly frustrating "Search for Life", either in-situ, by the Viking experiments, or at long range, by peering into the (in)famous "Mars Meteorite". Everyone who is anyone is inbetween the covers. Read this book and you'll see all those names on the JPL websites etc as real people, I promise you.
But what makes the book special - and I don't use the word lightly - is it's tone. When you read MARS, it's like having the two accomplished authors sitting there in your front room, talking to you personally, giving you an audio-visual presentation on the Red Planet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor 27 Jan 2008
Format:Hardcover
I am suprised. When I visited this page last year there were several reviews of this dreadful pompous book that criticised it heavily. Now they are gone. Why is amazon supressing honest comment and allowing favourable comment by friends of the authors.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish writing - poor research 12 May 2006
Format:Hardcover
I don't think this is the only book about Mars you will ever need. I was disappointed with it for several reasons. Though I think it's well out of date now but I have a few points to make about the book.

The authors seem hooked on the theory that the Viking probes that landed on Mars in 1976 found evidence for life. This has been discredited very long ago (and increasingly discredited with all the new discoveries being made about Mars) and is now only advocated by essentially one person (Gil Levin now in his 80s) who is pathologically and irrationally wedded to the idea. The book is scientifically unbalanced. It is also full of clichés about Mars that a cursory level of research would have found out were untrue. They say the Saturn Five rocket on its side at the Kennedy Space Center could fly to Mars tomorrow if it was fuelled - what nonsense.

But more than this, the style of writing of the book irritated me. It is written in a sub A-level standard of prose with no flare, intelligent use of language or narrative sense. The books structure is all over the place. In one place (page 13) the authors actually use the word enormity as though it meant "an enormous thing." I was puzzled as to why, after so many years writing books, the two authors cannot write and then I realised that for many years they have not written an adult book, just a smattering of words for children's book that are mainly illustrations.

The conceit of the authors irritated me as well. The text is full of themselves, making one suspect that this is their favourite topic not Mars or astronomy. They say they are sitting on a veranda having drinks, jetting off, called by the BBC's science correspondent, etc, etc...enough, enough. If the authors want to write like that they need considerably more skill to pull it off.

In short - nice pictures, amateurish text, poor research, out of date.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Well researched & interesting 12 Jun 2009
By S. Plowright - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Two science writers have spared no efforts in detailing the story of Mars, from its place in popular fiction, to the hard science of its geography, to the physics of getting there, and living there.

Although there have been great advances in our detailed knowledge of the red planet since this book was written, the basic facts are still relevant. This is an excellent introduction for anyone interested in our past and future relationship with Mars.

Once this book captures your interest, you may want to go on to more technical studies, by Zubrin for example.
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