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The Milky Way: An Insider's Guide Hardcover – 21 Apr 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (21 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691122245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691122243
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,424 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

One of SkyNews Best Astronomy Books of the Year 2013, chosen by SkyNews editor, Terence Dickinson

"The Milky Way is a good overview of our knowledge of the Milky Way. . . . [F]or those who want to get up to speed on the Milky Way, or simply refresh their knowledge of it, this book can help the reader become an insider about our galactic home."--Jeff Foust, Space Review

"[E]rudite, yet eminently accessible. . . . Another component of the author's winning strategy is evident in the book's subtitle; it's the most immediate example of Waller's playful and plainspoken use of language, an approach that helps make this exploration of our immediate stellar neighborhood a joy to read."--ForeWord

"The Milky Way: An Insider's Guide is a very comprehensive and up-to-date survey of its subject. The overall impression it leaves one with is of our galaxy as a very busy place, fizzing with what the author, in a particularly felicitous phrase, calls 'vigorous fecundity.' Our little burg may be a mere speck in the grand scheme of things, but there's a lot going on here."--John Derbyshire, American Spectator

"The breadth of material Waller covers is astonishing. . . . As a space journalist, I'll definitely keep this book on my shelf."--Elizabeth Howell, Universe Today

"[R]ich with fascinating detail. . . . The author delivers everything we need in a book about our Galaxy, bringing a welcome depth to our appreciation of those clear, dark nights."--Alastair Gunn, BBC Sky at Night

"[W]ell-written and accessible. . . . Strongly recommended, as this volume should have a wide readership among student and lay astronomers."--Library Journal

"[A] thrilling story of our home galaxy, quite the best I've seen in popular astronomy books."--Simon Mitton, Times Higher Education

"The photographs are quite stunning. As new techniques and more elaborate apparatus for exploring the universe are being developed, our knowledge and understanding are increasing exponentially. This excellent and comprehensive guide to the Milky Way may well be the definitive book on the subject for the time being, but it is unlikely to remain so for too long."--Anthony Toole, Shvoong.com

"Waller's book provides an excellent starting point, telling the story of the formation and evolution of the Milky Way, and how this hard-won knowledge was obtained--and it does so in an entertaining and not overly detailed fashion. It should be among the first recommendations to new students of the field, as well as to citizen scientists who wish to deepen their understanding of one of the fundamental, as well as fast-advancing, areas of modern astronomy."--Timothy C. Beers, Nature Physics

"This clearly written, largely nontechnical book balances the poetic interpretation of the starry realm with the modern scientific nature of the Milky Way galaxy. . . . The book can be used as a textbook or be a good general read."--Choice

"[W]aller's goal--fully achieved, in my opinion--is to familiarize readers with the history of the discovery of the Milky Way Galaxy's size, shape, and contents and our place in it. Attention is given to the origin of stars in general and to the nature of specific types of stars and how our galaxy came to be in the first place."--Terence Dickinson, SkyNews

"This book is superb: written in an engaging, even folksy, style, it would be the perfect primer for a beginning undergraduate wanting an up-to-date overview of stellar and galactic astronomy."--David Stickland, Journal of Continuity and Change

From the Inside Flap

"Clearly written, splendidly up-to-date, and full of delightful analogies, this book is the natural heir to Bok's The Milky Way. It explores and explains our Galaxy in a way accessible to all readers and will excite anyone who craves an adventure of the mind and imagination."--Andrew Fraknoi, professor of astronomy, Foothill College

"The Milky Way takes readers on a nontechnical journey through our Galaxy, and strikes a nice balance between the personal, the poetic, and the educational--it also moves at a good pace. Waller communicates the true wonder of nature, but he is also quite thorough and deep in his coverage of the latest science."--Mark Whittle, University of Virginia

"Waller presents a careful overview of the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy, with informative asides into the history of astronomy, galaxy formation and evolution, and more recent observations. There is much of value here."--Gerry Gilmore, University of Cambridge


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Toole on 14 July 2013
Format: Hardcover
THE MILKY WAY - An Insider's Guide
By William H. Waller
Princeton University Press (2013)
ISBN 978 0 691 12224 3
$29.95/£19.95

It is only during the past century that we have come to realise that our home galaxy is not the whole universe, but only one of countless millions of stellar islands that populate an ever expanding cosmos.
The author's enthusiasm for his subject is clear from the start, and reflects some of that childlike sense of wonder that is highly infectious, and which none of us should ever lose.
The book begins with a description of the different structures that make up the Milky Way, such as globular clusters, gas clouds and the many kinds of star. A historical survey then describes how various cultures and mythologies across the world from ancient times have attempted to explain the celestial glories, and how the rise of Science has led to our present understanding.
Early astronomy was purely visual, but as the electromagnetic spectrum has expanded, then so has our ability to explore the universe using different wavelengths, radio, infra-red, X-ray, gamma ray and others that have each brought their own strengths and given us their own unique pictures to interpret.
The structures to be found within the galaxy are described, together with the development of the stars, from their births in enormous gas clouds through their lives on the main sequence to their ultimate fates as planetary nebulae, white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes, depending on their masses.
The part played by the earliest stars in the creation of the heavier elements and their seeding of the universe with these to form rocky planets like the Earth is also explained.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Terrific summary of current scholarship 15 Aug 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Milky Way: An Insider's Guide is an easy to read, informative, and comprehensive guide into the study of stars and, of course, the Milky Way itself, ending with some thoughts on life elsewhere in the Galaxy and how we might be good galactic citizens. The book is aimed at a general audience, but does not "dumb down" the subject, so it's a useful adjunct to other introductory text books on the subject of stars and our galaxy.
I'd recommend The Milky Way: An Insider's Guide to anyone interested in getting a good overview of what we know about our place in the Universe.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
good 12 Dec 2013
By Will - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
good book, well printed. bought this for my astronomy class requirement . written in a half scientific half historic way.
A Gift to All Amateurs and Laymen 17 Oct 2014
By Stuart Schulz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is a fabulous gift to all amateur astrophysicists and laymen alike. Waller dares, successfully, to present a subject that is usually buried in esoteric math and language fit for PhD candidates only. Yet he takes his science seriously, does not compromise presenting the most complex of ideas concerning evolution and structure in the Milky Way. For example, I was particularly impressed in his effort to nail the actual path of the solar system in the galaxy as a type of spirograph wobbling around the galactic equator--and without using advanced math. After all, what can math tell us when we don't really know for sure...it is all speculation, and he makes the speculation come alive, just as Helene Courtois et al does in her outstanding video, Cosmography of the Local Universe. I located her vivid film(now on Youtube) and challenging article in The Astronomy Journal because of another fine attribute of Waller: He meticulously sources every graph, quote, diagram, photo that he uses, so the reader can easily follow up on the many general points to whatever depth and detail--and eventual exhaustion-- he or she chooses.
A Wonderful Nontechnical Journey 17 July 2014
By Alan Westcott - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are some books you hate to finish and for me, this was one of them. I have been fascinated by these structures for many years and I find this an excellent introduction to our own Milky Way. It is not a Junior/Senior level astronomy text with a calculus prerequisite. There is no math except for the Drake equation. But there are plenty of charts and graphs because those are the best ways to display certain kinds of information. Waller is an excellent teacher and I wish I could have encountered a teacher like this back in my freshman year. This book is a guide to the home galaxy that will give the reader a very good overview and an incentive to go further.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Milky Way 14 July 2013
By Anthony Toole - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
THE MILKY WAY - An Insider's Guide
By William H. Waller
Princeton University Press (2013)
ISBN 978 0 691 12224 3
$29.95/£19.95

It is only during the past century that we have come to realise that our home galaxy is not the whole universe, but only one of countless millions of stellar islands that populate an ever expanding cosmos.
The author's enthusiasm for his subject is clear from the start, and reflects some of that childlike sense of wonder that is highly infectious, and which none of us should ever lose.
The book begins with a description of the different structures that make up the Milky Way, such as globular clusters, gas clouds and the many kinds of star. A historical survey then describes how various cultures and mythologies across the world from ancient times have attempted to explain the celestial glories, and how the rise of Science has led to our present understanding.
Early astronomy was purely visual, but as the electromagnetic spectrum has expanded, then so has our ability to explore the universe using different wavelengths, radio, infra-red, X-ray, gamma ray and others that have each brought their own strengths and given us their own unique pictures to interpret.
The structures to be found within the galaxy are described, together with the development of the stars, from their births in enormous gas clouds through their lives on the main sequence to their ultimate fates as planetary nebulae, white dwarfs, neutron stars or black holes, depending on their masses.
The part played by the earliest stars in the creation of the heavier elements and their seeding of the universe with these to form rocky planets like the Earth is also explained. This leads on to a discussion of the possibilities for life elsewhere in the galaxy. The author is an enthusiastic supporter of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and concludes that we should play our full part as `citizens' of the Milky Way, our home galaxy, without which we would not exist.
While a basic grasp of physics and astronomy is helpful to the enjoyment of the book, it is not essential, and a glossary explains most of the scientific terms. Mathematical formulae are kept to a minimum, and can safely be skimmed over, though a full appreciation of the graphs may require closer scrutiny. The photographs are quite stunning.
As new techniques and more elaborate apparatus for exploring the universe are being developed, our knowledge and understanding are increasing exponentially. This excellent and comprehensive guide to the Milky Way may well be the definitive book on the subject for the time being, but it is unlikely to remain so for too long.
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