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Customer Review

on 14 October 2010
This spectacular book comes within an ace of being a truly superb volume.

It falls short of the mark with some mildly moronic page designs where pictures are separated from their captions quite unnecessarily and impractically, especially when given the adequacy of the space available. That text boxes are plonked over critical image segments (when they are not floating disconnected on others) suggests strongly that the book was designed by people with little feel for the subject.

Author Giles Sparrow's overall grasp of a extensive subject is quite commendable. However, the book is marred in places where his lack of expertise does shines through with instances of indifferent text and a failure to deliver clinching insights - something that could easily have been rectified with more proficient and knowledgeable editors.

Similarly, in addition to errors already mention in other reviews, some of the 'facts' vary uncomfortably, as with the distance of Betelgeuse stated as 427 light years distant on one page and 440ly on another. Andromeda is worryingly described in one single caption as being 200 000 light years in diameter and 250 000 light years across just a mere 6 lines later. Its stellar population as stated at 400 billion stars is way short of the accepted value of 1 trillion stars..... and so on. The otherwise excellent schematic of Jupiter's moons is blemished by distances which are out by a factor of ten, suggesting again editors unfamiliar with numbers. It sounds harsh, but the sheer lavishness of the book outshines these failings.

Generally, the choice of pictures is superb, but one may quibble that better Lunar and Mars photos are available from the same sources, and that too much space was devoted to nebula purely on the basis of prettiness.

But the real excellence of this book lies in the technical brilliance of the printing and image transfer. It is formidably superb. (The Chinese printers are advised to have their name printed in future editions.)

In terms of sheer volume, ink on page and stunning images, Cosmos is unbeatable.
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