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Good Companion to Video - but watch out for errors
on 22 October 2010
I have only just started this book, having given the DVD version of the video a 5 star rating elsewhere. I plan to update this review upon completion of reading the book.
However, I have given it a 3 star rating as a provisional evaluation and as a warning to potential buyers and existing readers. Normally, my intial view would have been to give it 4 stars, since I agree with another reviewer that the general layout is a little too fussy and not always clear; hence it fails to impress as much as the video.
The reason for knocking off one star from this initial assessment is that I was put on alert to the error mentioned by another reviewer (who only gave the book 1 star). Having reached page 27 I was surprised to read that the sun is "140,000 kilometres (865,000 miles) across and over 100 times the diameter of Earth ..." The glaring error should be apparent to a 10 year old or anyone who ever looks at their speedometer in their car. Since when did 86 mph equate to 14kmh? (60mph is equivalent to 97kmh). The sun's diameter is approximately 1,392,000 km, so clearly the figure was meant to be 1,400,000 kilometre.
Before anyone tells me I should get out more (possibly true!), I should say that I am now less comfortable reading a book, which I already know has 2 technical/typo errors within its pages. It won't stop me reading it, since I think the book has a lot to offer and I like Brian Cox's enthusiasm for the subject. However, my experience so far, makes me wonder how many other errors are lurking inside its covers. The above error was easy to pick up, but although I have some knowledge of the subject from reading and studying about earth sciences, I would be none the wiser over many other 'facts' that might be presented in this book, unless I have come across them elsewhere. Perhaps Harper Collins who are the publishers of this book would like to respond?
Whoever was responsible for proofing this book needs to improve their skills, since as a BBC related publication aimed at educating the general public with an interest in this subject, it is a shame to produce a first rate documentary video, only to back it up with a book which lacks more rigour in its quality control.