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The Story of Astronomy: How the universe revealed its secrets [Hardcover]

Arthur C. Clarke , Heather Couper , Nigel Henbest
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Oct 2007
As we approach the 400th anniversary of Galileo's birth, there is no better time for this extraordinary volume examining centuries of evolution in astronomy. From superstition and mythology to science, the clear text and extraordinary images make this the perfect volume for anyone with an interest in our mystifying Universe, from families to astronomy enthusiasts and students.From as far back as the Greeks, humans have striven to understand our Universe. Over centuries and millennia, astronomers have moved towards establishing some of its extraordinary true nature. Expounding this development, Astronomy uncovers the past, present and future.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Cassell (15 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844035700
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844035700
  • Product Dimensions: 29.2 x 24.1 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 877,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Book Description

A fascinating and highly informative insight into the history and science of our Universe. Features extraordinary, full-colour images supported by expert, up-to-date, and informative text. The award-winning authors are the UK's leading experts on space exploration. Arthur C. Clarke is the author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and a household name in scientific discovery and sci-fi.

About the Author

Arthur C. Clarke is one of the world's most famous and prolific science fiction writers. He is most commonly known for the movie script, 2001: A Space Odyssey - for which he shared an Oscar nomination with Stanley Kubrick - but is also renowned worldwide for more than 70 other works, and the CBS coverage of Apollo 12 and 15, as well as Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World and Arthur C. Clarke's World of Strange Powers. He has lived in Sri Lanka since 1956. After studying Astrophysics at Oxford University, Heather ran the Greenwich Planetarium, and later became President of the British Astronomical Association and Gresham Professor pf Astronomy. After presenting two TV series, Heather and two colleagues set up Pioneer Productions, now one of the leading factual TV companies in the UK. She was the producer of Universe and of the international award-winning programme Electric Skies. After gaining a first class honours degree in Astrophysics, Nigel researched in radio astronomy at Cambridge, where he studied supernovae, radio galaxies and quasars. He developed geophysical equipment that he installed on Mt Etna. He became Media Consultant to the Royal Greenwich Observatory, and Astronomy Consultant to New Scientist magazine. A prolific author, Nigel is also an award-winning TV producer and scriptwriter and runs Pioneer Productions, bridging the arts and sciences.

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First Sentence
Each taking a different route, we reconvene under the giant red rock. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class 17 Nov 2007
Format:Hardcover
You don't have to be an astronomer to appreciate this book. I happened to have it with me at the Society for Popular Astronomy's astronomy course, where the husband of one of the participants started to leaf through the pages. Though his interest is in wildlife rather than astronomy he was immediately hooked, and decided to buy his own copy. If you are expecting a dry academic tome, look elsewhere. But if you want to find out about not just how astronomy has developed from the dawn of time, and the people behind it, all explained in a highly readable text, this is for you.
The authors have put in an impressive amount of background research into the life and times of those people we have all heard of, such as Kepler, turning them from names into real people with lives and loves. When it comes to opinions, we hear at first hand from acknowledged experts in the field, such as Owen Gingerich and Allan Chapman. Their quotes speak directly to you. My only quibble is that they are rarely allowed to 'say' anything, but they 'confide' or 'aver' or 'opine', in the interests of variety, which gets a little tedious at times. The style is Readers' Digest or New Scientist - popular but authoritative.
Though the authors have clearly travelled the world to see the actual sites and talk to the experts, this does not interfere with the narrative and I have come across far more personalised works from some well-known names. This is far more than a quick pot-boiler of a book with research courtesy of Wikipedia and a day in a library. There are occasional lapses in editing - it doesn't know whether to use UK or US spelling, for example - but these would probably escape anyone other than another editor.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every coffee table should have one 2 Nov 2007
Format:Hardcover
I couldn't disagree more with the first three reviewers. In fact, given their excrutiating (sic) spelling, I wonder if they are just one reviewer with a grudge. This is a beautiful book - visually and literally. There are many tomes on this subject, but few are as overarching in their perspective or as engaging in their style. Couper and Henbest capture the wonder that prehistoric people must have held for the heavens, the mythology they wove around that and their sometimes amusing but increasingly accurate attempts to understand the physical nature of the cosmos.

Whilst it is a fine book to browse, the accessible style and engaging personal descriptions draw the reader in and make it hard to put down. In a field where there is plenty of duller, dryer competition, this is the one to buy.
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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good Pics - Poor text 4 Nov 2007
Format:Hardcover
I have to go with the majority low opinion of this book expressed here. The pictures are nice but then again you can buy umpteen books of great pictures of space. It is the poor writing that lets this book down, and poor research. I rather think that the sole good review was written by the authors themselves or friends of theirs.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Excellent Light Reading for All Age Groups 3 July 2008
By M. J. Grage - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is large enough at 10" x 12" to be considered a `coffee table' book. The book features a nice mix of scientific explanation, biographical information, and excellent pictures.

The history starts with ancient astronomical structures and Polynesian navigators and continues in a progressive timeline to the 1976 Mars Viking landers and current SETI antennas. The latest Mars rovers and Phoenix lander are not covered.

I highly recommend the book for light bedtime reading. As the book isn't too technical, it is suitable for younger readers. At the same time, it provides intriguing enough information to encourage me to search the web for additional details regarding some of the astronomers and topics that are presented.
5.0 out of 5 stars Astronomy 9 Jun 2014
By John M. Wasilnak - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very good read concerning the history and background of Astronomy, a very interesting read for those interested in the stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Textbook, Great Coffee Table Book 16 Oct 2013
By Kyle Sanders - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This tome is filled to the brim with interesting stuff about the history of astronomy, and jam-packed with full-color photos. This is the only textbook I have ever kept for leisure reading. The page-spanning photos make it a great product, especially at such a low price.
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book! 3 Mar 2013
By C. M. Halsey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The full history in this book has me geeking out every time I read it. So well written, and fun to read!
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book 10 Jan 2008
By jsb125 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Gave this as a gift this past Chrristmas and was very well recieved. I paged thru it both before and after I gave it and was very impressed with its history and pictures.
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