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The Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Excellent Book

    "The Passage to Cosmos" is an excellent work. It is actually two books in one binding. The first book is about the life and work of Alexander von Humboldt. The second is about the effects Humboldt and his work had on other people. There is a wonderful conduit between the two, Walls' "interchapter" (Check out the table of contents.)

    There are a variety of ways to measure how good a book is. One is the amount of things underlined or astericked in the text and the amount of notes written in the margin. (If you don't understand, check out Mortimer Adler, "How to Read a Book".) There are plenty. A second is the number of works that the author makes reference to, that are on my B&N Wish List. There are three now and plenty more to come. A third is how many times I stopped reading to look up something that the author mentioned in Wikipedia. There were about a dozen. A fourth is whether I have tried to contact the author or not. I have.

    Based on these criteria, I suggest that you open another page in your browser, go to Wikipedia, and look up Alexander von Humboldt, if you haven't done so already. If he is in the least bit interesting to you, put this book in your shopping cart, now.

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