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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Journey through the solar system
This charming guide to the solar system explains the planets in everyday language while drawing on history, myth, science fiction, art, literature and the latest scientific advances. It discusses the ongoing discoveries in our planetary system, dealing with every body from the sun to Pluto. The writing style is accessible and highly engaging.

The chapter...
Published on 20 Feb 2007 by Pieter Uys

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Confused and Self Serving
If you have enjoyed any of the other Dava Sobel books, please avoid this. It is devoid of all the features that have made the other books so successful; personality, human triumph over aversity and scientific discovery. This is a mish-mash of science, psuedo-science and romantic nonsense in a disconnected series of chapters, none of which deliver the same type of story...
Published on 27 Sep 2010 by Martin Ohara


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mostly meandering off-orbit, 8 April 2009
By 
John Holland (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Planets (Paperback)
A particularly strange book that struggles to establish its reason for being. Walking through the planets of the solar system in turn, we are presented with a combination of data, stories, history and mythology. For Mars, this takes the form of an essay from a Martian meteorite writing on behalf of the planet; for the outer planets, a biographical approach is used to describe the discovery.

Best considered as a Plutino - this book sometimes drifts inside the orbit of relevance but mostly stays well outside in the uncharted Kuiper belt. While Longitude was a concise story well-suited to the author's informal style, it was possibly a mistake to tackle the planets in the same style.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Great book let down by poor formatting, 20 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Planets (Kindle Edition)
Planets is a whistle-stop tour of the planets of the solar system. Dava Sobel's prose is a pleasure to read. The narratives she spins for each planet, while sometimes a bit silly, are always compelling.

The Kindle edition of this book, however, is poorly converted. Quotations are badly formatted and the illustrations are completely missing. If you want to read this book and enjoy it as it was meant to be read, buy the print edition.

(The print edition, which I bought when I have up in the Kindle edition, deserves four stars.)
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2.0 out of 5 stars more astrology than science, 17 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Planets (Paperback)
I didn't finish this, although I read most of it. As it goes on, it felt like there was more and more astrology rather than actual science; and the astrology would usually be first.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The planets, 18 Sep 2012
By 
Bill Crawford "Big Bill" (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Planets (Hardcover)
This book contains many details and facts, but unlike others I have read, it is beautifuly written, almost poetic in style, which makes it more thought provoking, but also such a pleasure to read. Highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting Tour Through the Solar System, 25 Nov 2010
By 
James Gallen (St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Planets (Paperback)
"The Planets" is an enchanting tour through the solar system. On its pages the reader encounters the heavenly bodies through science, mythology and history.

Author Dava Sobel introduces the reader to the physical attributes of each planet, its composition, whether rocky, gas, solid or molten, its atmosphere and weather. She explores the evidence, or lack thereof, for life and the reasons why a particular body may or may not harbor life somewhere on or in its sphere.

This book is not limited to the eight known planets, but also includes the moons of the earth and other planets, "The Planets" is an enchanting tour through the solar system. On its pages the reader encounters the heavenly bodies through science, mythology and history.

Author Dava Sobel introduces the reader to the physical attributes of each planet, its composition, whether rocky, gas, solid or molten, its atmosphere and weather. She explores the evidence, or lack thereof, for life and the reasons why a particular body may or may not harbor life somewhere on or in its sphere.

This book is not limited to the eight known planets, but also includes the moons of the earth and other planets, Khyber Belt Objects, those betwixt and between objects, too small to be planets but too large to be asteroids orbiting beyond Neptune, the most famous of which is the former planet, Pluto, and the objects of the asteroid belt.

Although I knew a fair amount about the solar system before reading this book, I learned much from it. While scientifically informative, the writing style is easy to follow and entertaining. For anyone with a thirst for knowledge about our solar system, "The Planets" is a good place to start.
Belt Objects, those betwixt and between objects, too small to be planets but too large to be asteroids orbiting beyond Neptune, the most famous of which is the former planet, Pluto, and the objects of the asteroid belt.

Although I knew a fair amount about the solar system before reading this book, I learned much from it. While scientifically informative, the writing style is easy to follow and entertaining. For anyone with a thirst for knowledge about our solar system, "The Planets" is a good place to start.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, 11 Dec 2006
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This review is from: The Planets (Paperback)
This book is not for me.

I can't get past the pompous style. It reads like W C Fields except that it's not funny.

Try this totally representative sentence from the chapter on Venus:

"These collisions eject copious debris, yet all the rubble hugs close around the crater margins in neat festoons, as though contained there by the heavy air."

Festoons? Is this a joke? I can't help reading it in a W C Fields voice.

For the chapter on Uranus and Neptune the author "assumed Maria Mitchell wrote of her 1847 find to ... Caroline Herschel.(1750 - 1848)." I can hardly tell the difference between the 19th century style and the rest of the book.

The chapter on Mars written from the point of view of a Martian rock doesn't work for me.

- - -

I really like the book "Understanding the Planetary Myths" by Lisa Tenzin-Dolma ISBN 0-572-03032-0
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of information, but not in a very coherent style, 12 Jun 2006
By 
Linda Oskam "dutch-traveller" (Amsterdam Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Planets (Hardcover)
From her youth onwards the author was intrigued by the planets and in this rather slim book she describes each planet: its properties, its moons and (of the planets that are far away) the history of its discovery. This is quite nice and it is good to get all the information sorted out in short, very readable chapters, but my main objection is that the author every now and then loses herself in romanticisms: especially the chapter on Venus (the morning and evening "star") is full of lyrical poems. On the other hand there are chapters that only have a rather dry list of facts about the planets to which they are devoted. This makes the book al in all not very coherent, but not unpleasant to read. I think that people with a decent knowledge of this astronomy will not get a lot of new information out of this book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class, 22 Jan 2006
This review is from: The Planets (Hardcover)
I could wax lyrical about this excellent study of the Solar System - alas - this is a beautifully written book and should be of interest to the expert and amateur astronomer alike, and also to the layman.
Dava Sobel is clearly an expert in her field with a life-lomg passion for her subject and an inate ability to express complicated scientific ideas, thoughts and concepts related to astronomy, cosmology and in this, to our Solar System.
This work of art is particularly useful for those needing to rekindle their own former passion in the subject.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Planets, 14 Feb 2009
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This review is from: The Planets (Paperback)
Great book - wonderful non-technical style & yet transmits technical information clearly in a literary manner.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 18 July 2006
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This review is from: The Planets (Paperback)
This is a fascinating look at our changing perceptions of the planets throughout history. The writing is excellent and keeps you hooked as it shows you how science has gradually eroded the misconceptions applied to each of the planets in mythology. If you have even a passing interest in astronomy, this book will enthrall you.
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The Planets by Dava Sobel
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