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The Power of Stars: How Celestial Observations Have Shaped Civilization Hardcover – Abridged, Audiobook, Box set

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 347 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2011 edition (27 Oct. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441968024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441968029
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 18.3 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 808,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


From the book reviews:

“This book is a treasure trove for those who work in a planetarium setting or give lessons about constellations and the Solar System – the beginning of the book is a great introduction to the star and planet lore … . It’s a highly recommended read!” (Kadri Tinn,, October, 2014)

“The Power of Stars is an enjoyable … perfectly smooth, jaunt through humankind’s history and its relationship to the heavens. … It is one of those books that every planetarian should have because it references so much information in a well-organized and easily accessible fashion. … The Power of Stars is more than worthy of a place in my library, and I know I will be going back to it again and again.” (Woodrow W. Grizzle III, Planetarian, September, 2012)

“Bryan Penprase, the Frank P. Brackett Professor of Physics and Astronomy, gives a course on ‘Archaeoastronomy and world cosmology’. His lecture notes have been polished up to produce this textbook. … I greatly enjoyed reading Penprase’s book. It was a thought-provoking, incisive, world-encompassing, beautifully illustrated, and reasonably sceptical.” (David W. Hughes, The Observatory, Vol. 131 (1222), June, 2011)

“Well worth a read for any astronomer – amateur or professional … . This is a really handsome book … . Colourful, educational, insightful and entertaining, it’s a veritable treasure chest of knowledge. Whether your interest is in looking at star charts and atlases from the comfort of your armchair, or standing in a dew-soaked field at dawn watching planets glowing above the eastern horizon before dawn, this is a book that really, really does need to be on your bookshelf as soon as possible.” (Cumbrian Sky, May, 2011)

“The majority of topics are well arranged to survey how many different cultures over a wide stretch of world history have experienced the sky. … the text is clear and the numerous high-quality illustrations are appropriate. … excellent general reference to astronomy and its uses in ancient Babylon, China, Egypt, Greece, and the Australian bush, and by Native Americans and others. An excellent bibliography and index of figures are an added value. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and general readers.” (M. K. Hemenway, Choice, Vol. 48 (9), May, 2011)

“It’s rarely been my pleasure to read a book of such expansive, eloquent erudition. … illustrate the plethora of ways humans throughout history ‘responded to the sky’ – sometimes ‘with fear, sometimes with great artistry and other times with great rationality’. Indeed, some ancient responses seem remarkably prescient. … will fascinate everyone from the most hardened scientific materialist to astrologers to ancient astronaut advocates. … The Power of Stars is a fascinating testament to that endearing fascination. Very highly recommended.” (Mark Greener, Fortean Times, 2011)

From the Back Cover

What are some of the connections that bind us to the stars? How have these connections been established? And how have people all around the world and throughout time reacted to the night sky, the sun and moon, in their poetry, mythology, rituals, and temples? This book explores the influence of the sky on both ancient and modern civilization, by providing a clear overview of the many ways in which humans have used the stars as an ordering principle in their cultures, and which today still inspire us intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. The book explores constellation lore from around the world, celestial alignments of monuments and temples, both from ancient and modern civilizations, and the role the sky has played in the cultures of the Greek, Egyptian, Babylonian, Native American, Chinese, Mayan, Aztec, and Inca. Models of the universe from each of these cultures are described clearly, and each culture’s explanation of the stars, planets, and other celestial objects are described. The roots of astronomy and astrology are presented with original imagery and reproductions of ancient manuscripts that portray the structure of the physical universe as conceived by a diverse array of human cultures over the centuries. Our own scientific Big Bang cosmology and the origin of stars and elements are discussed in a philosophical context, to explore how we as modern people learn about the Universe, and incorporate the findings of science into our world views. A concluding chapter provides a summary of modern science's effort to unlock the celestial secrets from the sky and from past civilizations, and what these answers mean for us today.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A simple and well written guide to the beliefs and ideas, the movements and mythology of sun, moon and stars. This book provides a good foundation for further study.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brillaint - great deal - I think that the author has done our world agreat service Thanks you and keep up the good work
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