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Cosmos Mass Market Paperback – Oct 12 1985

4.7 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Ballantine Books ed edition (Oct. 12 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345331354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345331359
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.6 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 149 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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Cosmos was the first science TV blockbuster, and Carl Sagan was its (human) star. By the time of Sagan's death in 1997, the series had been seen by half a billion people; Sagan was perhaps the best-known scientist on the planet. Explaining how the series came about, Sagan recalled:

I was positive from my own experience that an enormous global interest exists in the exploration of the planets and in many kindred scientific topics--the origin of life, the Earth, and the Cosmos, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, our connection with the universe. And I was certain that this interest could be excited through that most powerful communications medium, television.

Sagan's own interest and enthusiasm for the universe were so vivid and infectious, his screen presence so engaging, that viewers and readers couldn't help but be caught up in his vision. From stars in their "billions and billions" to the amino acids in the primordial ocean, Sagan communicated a feeling for science as a process of discovery. Inevitably, some of the science in Cosmos has been outdated in the years since 1980--but Sagan's sense of wonder is ageless. --Mary Ellen Curtin

Review

“Magnificent . . . With a lyrical literary style, and a range that touches almost all aspects of human knowledge, Cosmos often seems too good to be true.”The Plain Dealer

“Sagan is an astronomer with one eye on the stars, another on history, and a third—his mind’s—on the human condition.”Newsday

“Brilliant in its scope and provocative in its suggestions . . . shimmers with a sense of wonder.”The Miami Herald

“Sagan dazzles the mind with the miracle of our survival, framed by the stately galaxies of space.”Cosmopolitan

“Enticing . . . iridescent . . . imaginatively illustrated.”The New York Times Book Review

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An amazing book published in the crappiest, cheapest possible way. The margins aren't straight. There are no page numbers. The typeface is so small as to make it very difficult to read. I bought this as a gift and but it makes a better coaster.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In his book, Dr. Sagan takes the reader on a tour of the universe and a ride through time that belittles our existence but at the same time reveres it. But Dr. Sagan does not forget who he is writing for. One of the ideas behind the unbelievably popular companion tv show of Cosmos was that the general public is more interested in and capable of understanding science than it is given credit for. As such, Cosmos is a book anyone can pick up and enjoy, yet it remains intelligent throughout. If someone would want to find a place to begin understanding the history and life of our universe and our place in it, then this book is that place.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have never been much of a scientist, but Carl Sagan makes me wish I was. In Cosmos, Sagan takes the readers through the history, present (as of 1980), and future of astronomy. In under 300 pages, he summarized all that I learned in a semester long astronomy class and much more, all in clear, concise, and interesting prose. He asks and answers many questions I have had about the universe beyond Earth, and proposes many theories and scenarios that he wishes he knew more about. He writes in a way that every reader can understand, even when the subject is a terribly complex problem that only the greatest astronomers have dared to tackle. This trait as well as his own curiosity, make the reader feel comfortable and assured even if they will never be more than hopelessly amatuer astronomers. Aside from the broad exploration of the Cosmos, Sagan makes interesting cases for the advancement of knoledge and peace on Earth and takes fascinating tangents that are very thought provoking. This is the best science book I have ever read and while I will never be much of a scientist, it makes me jealous of those who are.
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Format: Paperback
This book was brilliant. Sagan had a way of explaining science to young students and making it meaningful. We need more teachers like Carl in the future. It will be good for the country.
Jeffrey McAndrew
author of "Our Brown-Eyed Boy"
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Good story on the Cosmo's. Great reading. This tells everything about the beginning of time til now. About 350 pages or so of reading. A great book for people into the universe. The only thing is I wish the printing was larger.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Even though some of the materials have become dated, one would have to label this text as being a 'classic'. Carl Sagan had an easily understood and flowing writing style that opened up the field of cosmology for a huge mass of people. He easily works together the big bang, Darwinian evolution and astronomy into a well received package. While he never claims to be the originator of these ideas, he certainly saw himself as being their upfront and fluent spokesman.

That being said there are a few issues I have, in retrospect, of this book. First and foremost, it sadly seems that the fervor about the 'space race' that was quite evident thirty years ago has lost its luster. Many of Sagan's projected space explorations and experiments have yet to come to fruition and, furthermore, they don't appear to be on our event horizon any time soon. The American public has a long history of becoming bored very easily and the exploration of space is no exception. Other factors that have lead to the delaying of space exploration has been the numerous downturns in the economy and the focus of a nation that finds itself more predisposed to the waging of wars than the pursuit of knowlege. Secondly I take umbrage with Sagan's promotion of atheism as the ultimate belief system. I would not enjoy reading a text whereas the author's final conclusion is that Genesis 1 is completely factual. Nor I do not enjoy reading an author whose ultimate conclusion is that our lives are solely based on random events either. A great deal can be said without becoming theological in the process.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
It is almost seven years since the author left us, and considering the magnitude of his accomplishments, no review of them can possibly do them justice. It is doubtful that any other person has instilled as many individuals as the author to enter the scientific profession. But the author has done much more than inspire, for he has given in this book. and the accompanying television series, the most accurate portrayal ever of human history. It is a history of achievement and daring creativity, where war and conflict are in the final analysis very rare. It is a history of confidence and courage to explore new domains. It is a history of both innate and discovered genius, and one where the truth always wins over illusion. There has been much that has been discovered in science since the author has passed on, but I think it can be stated with confidence that he would be both pleased and astonished of just what has been accomplished.
Indeed, look at us now:
....for with steady hands, the biologists are splicing and dicing in our genetic kitchens. Shuffling DNA like a deck of cards, they hybridize our fauna and flora, changing and accelerating their evolution. They extract silk from the udders of goats, make plants intolerant to insects, and they build electronic circuits and cure diseases using viruses, which they also engineer to become our friends, not our foes. With confidence and pride in who we are, we are poised to make copies of ourselves, and choose our progeny's phenotype with ease.Tapping on our keyboards, we blast our way through an enormity of DNA strings, finding similarities of our genes with other lifeforms, and discovering our genetic kinship with all life on Earth. What makes us so can now be put on disk: we can now carry our genome in our pocket.
....
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