Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn more Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How All Science Should be Communicated, 28 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Carl Sagan's Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective (Hardcover)
Sandwiched between Ann Druyan's valiant defence of her late husband's legacy and David Morrison's worthy (but probably unnecessary) epilogue, nestles, perhaps, one of the finest pieces of popular science writing ever published! Less restrained than Sagan's later work, Cosmic Connection reveals the author at his optimistic and speculative best, providing readers with a lavish feast of passion and idealism, tempered by reasoned argument and scientific discipline - every page is inspiring.

The book comprises a series of short essays that combine effortlessly to take the reader on an odyssey through the cosmos and link humanity's destiny (and its heritage) to the stars. Throughout, one senses Sagan developing the themes that would come to dominate his later writing and fuel his advocacy for space exploration. The first section (of three) considers issues of cosmic perspective and scale: Sagan understood that widespread acceptance of his ideas rested on his audience understanding the sheer magnitude and immense age of the universe - he also knew that most of his readers probably didn't grasp such concepts and so wisely dedicated nearly a third of the book trying to impart something of the vastness of the cosmos. In the second part, he turns his attention to the Solar System, honing his arguments for extending robotic exploration of our nearest neighbours and counselling of the dangers of anthropogenic climate change. Finally, Sagan permits himself the luxury of speculating about the existence of extraterrestrial life. Despite debunking many of the modern alien-contact myths during his (all too short) life, Sagan did much to initiate and legitimize the search for intelligent life in the universe; it remained a recurring theme throughout his work and provided the inspiration for his foray into fiction (and Hollywood).

Nonetheless, in places, Cosmic Connection is showing signs of its age - even this posthumous version was published more than a decade ago and the original, nearly four - but it's central message is still as relevant and important as it was when Sagan first articulated his vision for humanity's future in space. Moreover, whilst the book has stood the test of time reasonably well (although not all of the science has survived completely in tact) and is still worth reading today, some of Sagan's pontifications on humanity's ability to grow beyond superstition and pseudo-science (for example, p.59) have, with the benefit of hindsight, been exposed as little more than naive optimism.

Notwithstanding these minor criticisms, Cosmic Connections epitomises the best of the popular science genre - it's how all science should be communicated to a lay-audience. Whilst it may be stretching the point a little too far to describe Sagan's prose and vision as beautiful, it is only a little too far!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
  [Cancel]


Review Details

Item

Reviewer


Top Reviewer Ranking: 23,839