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on 11 May 1999
This book is filled with ancient and classical literary references and catalog designations of the stars. At the price, it's an outstanding bargain. Greek, Latin, Persian, Arabic, Chinese, and European lore are all there. I think it's a"must have" for anyone interested in historical astronomy.
The book loses 1 star because the original text was written in 1895: before the constellation names and boundaries were fixed by the International Astronomical Union in 1930. So a beginner could get confused by references to a star being in one constellation whereas the IAU put the star in another.
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on 20 November 1998
I really enjoyed this book. I always wanted to know the history of the stars and constellations and this book explains it well. I found the explanations scholarly and authoritative. A good read all around. 5 stars.
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on 23 July 2014
As this book was originally published in 1899 the text of it can actually be viewed online but as I referred to it often I thought it would be handy to have a hard copy. I think I was mistaken as I find it quite difficult to navigate my way to information about specific stars in the book whereas this is simple on line using a search engine. Despite this, it's good to have it as a back up copy for when I don't have access to the internet.
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If you are interested in the subject, then books just don't come any better than this; it's pure magic. I admit the style takes a little getting used to at first but, once you are into it the detail and information available is amazing. Mr Allen must have had a classical education and then some!

It covers all the constellations and the Milky Way in consummate detail and the information isn't just regurgitated piecemeal. It's interspersed with items of poetry which, for me, really brought the descriptions to life. Bear in mind however that it was written in 1899 and some of the statements Allen makes may refer to constellations that are no long extant, and search as I might I found nothing about the teapot or the steering wheel :-) But this is to nitpick, if you want to know the meanings of the names of the stars and constellations, never mind that at the finish we aren't really sure whether the names are based on tales from Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Arabic or the 16th / 17th centuries, this is the book, it's a journey in itself.
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on 28 May 2015
This is a typical, well-produced Dover reprint of an esoteric book. The history and lore of star names sounds fascinating but the linguistic scholarship is so detailed with countless quotes of non-English sources that it's all a little overwhelming.
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on 21 April 2016
A wealth of information here that should be of interest beyond the astronomer, amateur or professional – indeed, it might be a good idea for some theoretical scholars, the so-called cosmologists for example, to spend an evening or two with this book before and after going outside on a clear night to absorb the splendour of the natural sky.

I purchased this book in 2001 so as to preserve my hardback, first edition of 1899, when it was entitled “Star-Names and their Meanings”.

This 563 paperback edition replicates the original with 76 pages of indexes.

The inside cover states that this is an unabridged and corrected re-publication of the original. Despite that, there are some typographical errors.

I found this book attracted a good deal of interest way back in the early 1960s during my short stint at the London Planetarium close by Baker Street Station.
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on 2 February 2016
This book is very informaive and it is a good reference in the subject
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on 6 January 2016
T O A L L
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