In this timely and vividly written account, William Sheehan traces human fascination with Mars back to the naked-eye observers of the planet. He recalls the early telescopic observers who first made out enigmatic markings and polar caps on its surface. Through lively historical anecdotes, he describes in detail the debate over the so-called canals of Mars, which encouraged speculation that the planet might be inhabited. Finally, Sheehan describes more recent theories about the planet, leading up to the present, when unmanned spacecraft have enabled us to make giant strides in exploration. Well documented and sparked with human interest, this book will be a useful companion and guide in interpreting the barrage of headlines about Mars that is sure to come over the next few years. Amateurs will appreciate the contributions that have been made to Martian studies by people like themselves, and professionals will find much original material that has never before been published.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.