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Based on Sagan's 13 part television series, "Cosmos" is about science in its broadest human context, and how science and civilization grew up together.
“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
Posted February 5, 2008
The most influencial book I have ever read. Sagan leads us across time and space, showing the evolution of thought and mankind. He is a prophet of science and nature, showing us that we are all part of the matter and the spaces between of the Universe.
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 27, 2011
Everything about this book is fascinating! Carl Sagan provides great facts and EXCELLENT food for thought as he ponders life's mysteries. A great thing about this book is that it IS filled with lots of information, but the way Carl Sagan presents it makes it easier to understand and he even put foot notes about how certain scientific numbers were calculated, for those who like seeing HOW things are done.
Over all this book is one of the best I've read and I personally think everyone should read it!
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Posted September 14, 2010
In Cosmos, Carl Sagan takes you on an incredible journey through time and through space. Few sections of science go ignored in this book even though each topic is covered thoroughly and intelligibly. Along with the many relevant facts, Sagan gives his thoughtful analysis and insight to make everything crystal clear. What I most like about Cosmos is how the knowledge introduced is done so in a poetic way which spices it up from being like a textbook and makes it seem like a work of art. Furthermore, Sagan's delivery instigates very profound and spectacular thought of the wonder of how the world works and how well humanity could exist compared to the present. This book is seriously full of mind blowing information that is just plain fun to think about. The most endearing part of this book is how it is written with so much heart, passion, and fervor. If there is anything to complain about it'd be that some parts require numerous re-readings to fully comprehend as some of the concepts are so difficult to grasp. If you are thinking about reading this book then you must. You learn so much from this book and as the adage goes, "knowledge is power". All joking aside, this is a really enjoyable book because it really makes you think and it paints the picture of how beautiful and wonderful the world, the universe, and mere existence are! This book will get a ten out of ten every time in my eyes.
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Of all the books I have read, none have made a greater impact on me than Cosmos. In a literary style unmatched by others in his field, Carl Sagan paints a brilliant portrait of our Universe, giving the details on every little subject, which for me is a relief. Sagan's views on the everyday stretch farther than the average person, as compellingly demonstrated in this book. It is non fiction, but in a style all its own, and while reading i could not help but smile, knowing such writing still exists. Explaining to us both the great mysteries hidden in the ocean of space, and the tragic and triumphant pst of the human race, I was at the heart of it all, humbled, by the sheer wonder and awe which lay on each page. This book is not for all readers, but I greatly encourage everyone to at least attempt to read it. It is one of the great pieces of literary science
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Posted September 10, 2012
Cosmos is just fantastic! This definitely is a 5 star book. In Cosmos Carl Sagan takes one on a ride through the universe and all of its perplexities including time and evolution. He discusses Einstein’s Special and General Theories of Relativity as well as topics on how the universe came to be. Additionally¸ the amazing voyages of various spacecraft such as the Voyager are discussed and of course the witty personal life of Carl Sagan are discussed as well. Furthermore, Sagan tells his readers about his viewpoint on extraterrestrial life, which is that the largeness of the universe permits the existence of thousands of alien civilizations but no credible evidence exists to demonstrate that such life exists. Sagan also explores the anthropological, cosmological, and biological matters from long ago until modern day times. Lastly, future speculations of science are discussed. Throughout this book there are many features I like, while there are many that I do not. One thing that I find appealing about this book is the way Carl Sagan explains theories such as Relativity, makes it such that the reader understands the topic easily and in its entirety. In addition, I like how Carl Sagan weaves historical events and science together. This just adds “flavor” to the book instead of just being straight-up science facts. Another thing I find interesting about this book is the mixing of Sagan’s life events with science fact. Once again, this just adds flavor to the book so it is not just facts. Lastly, one thing I found extremely interesting was Sagan’s tone. He uses a very casual tone, like he is making conversation to his reader. He uses this to his advantage, so that he does not sound like a textbook. On the other hand, there are many things about this book that I was disappointed in. One major thing was sometimes the amount of philosophical and political rants from Carl Sagan were too much, and in the end they took away from what this book had to offer. Also, on rare occasions Sagan would go on random tangents that weren’t related to the topic. While sometimes they were humorous, when there were too many this also took away from what the book had to offer. While this book was written to gain the attention of the average person, that person should definitely have a mindset in order to really enjoy this book. One should have an interest in science whether it be very small, because even though Carl Sagan explains topics in a way most people can understand, if they are not interested they will probably get very bored. Without a doubt Cosmos is utterly fantastic and makes one ponder about the universe and the strange yet fascinating events that occur in it.
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Posted September 9, 2012
Starts out great, but ends on a bad note. For most of Cosmos by Carl Sagan the history of scientific advancement is discussed as well as some of NASA’s recent missions. It gives a very thorough look at science throughout history and what has helped and hindered it, from ancient libraries to book burnings. Discussions of ancient experiments and the scientific method are also given and explored. His discussion of scientific past is very impartial and uses logical deduction to help expand understanding of the ancient world. Towards the very end of the book, however, Carl Sagan veers away from strict science and facts and begins talking about his political views for the future, many of which he gives poor arguments for or leaves out any explanation at all. Many of his moral arguments are based on the fact that aggression developed before sex, so we should do away with marriage and encourage children to fulfill their sexual desires and give in to lust to prevent violence. There is no evidence that giving in to certain instincts inhibits others. His grasp on global politics is also very weak. He believes that by disarming all nuclear weapons the United States will make its enemies less likely to attack, which simply is not the case. He is against all retaliation against terrorists and believes their actions are validated simply because the United States maintains a military. Sticking strictly to the scientific content of the book Cosmos provides a great view of the history and future of science, but its logical and factual flow is greatly sundered by the last 50 pages in which he abandons scientific and logical thinking to spout his political nonsense.
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Posted September 9, 2012
A Wonderful Journey Through Time And Space
In this book Carl Sagan takes you across the universe. He takes you from the beginning of time and matter to the distant future billions of years from now. He captures your imagination with astonishing facts and keeps you engrossed until the last page. At first you learn all about the history of science, every significant experiment and contribution there ever was. He gives you in depth detail about little known facts from 2000 years ago, and you learn how surprising facts were discovered. He goes on to explain everything about the universe from black holes, stars, the big bang, and anything else you can think of.
One of the major themes is how exceptionally rare and precious life really is. The dangers of nuclear war are constantly addressed as well as how important it is to look for life beyond Earth. Sagan does an amazing job of illustrating how insignificant humans are in size, but how special and unique they are. I loved how much you learned and how effortlessly Carl Sagan could explain quasars and theorems and how a black hole forms. I would recommend this to any inquisitive person, and anyone who wonders about space. The book can feel like a list of facts at parts, and I wouldn’t suggest this book for anyone who likes adventure tales or books you fly through in a day because this book will make you stop and think.
Overall I think everyone would benefit from reading this book and it’s hard not to gasp when you read about light speed, and the possibility of meeting other life forms. I would give this book five stars and it is absolutely one of the best books I have ever read. If you want to be excited and shocked and breath taken all at the same time, then this is the book for you.
Carl Sagan’s Cosmos is a wonderful journey, not just through space, but throughout time, as horrendously cheesy as it may sound. At first glance, one might assume that the book is pertinent only to outer space as we see it right now, but this is not the case. Cosmos is restricted to neither modern times nor astronomy, instead opting to explore nearly everything along those spectrums. This means that science as a whole is overviewed throughout history, including the implications it carries about human nature, the planet we live on, and what lies beyond. Cosmos challenges readers themselves to challenge things that are often taken for granted, such as the validity of everything we “know” about the universe, and the methods used to achieve those results. Earth itself is a very large part of Cosmos despite only being a small part of the universe, but with good reason. It is, after all, the planet on which the human race has spent the majority of its lifetime, and our only “permanent” temporary home. And despite this, a major message of Cosmos is the fragility of Earth, the pale blue dot. At this point, the book starts to overlap with politics, specifically the preservation of Earth and her resources, but it never explicitly takes sides, even though we all know in which direction it would go if it did. One thing that should not go unaddressed is this: Cosmos is not for everybody. It is, for all intents and purposes, more theoretical than practical. Joe Schmo may not care about what will happen to humanity millions of years from now, and ultimately, the definition of a Type 2.3 R. Civilization is meaningless to him. Even so, Cosmos also teaches a lesson of humility, rather than making the reader feel self-important and smart for having read it. Arrogance is the downfall of science, which means the downfall of human progress. When you are damn sure that the sun revolves around the Earth because you are among the smartest men of your time, then failure lies in the future of your ideals. Ultimately, Cosmos is more than capable of wowing its audience with descriptions of the scale of the universe and the fantastic possibilities that lie within it, but it takes a more discerning mind to understand what it is teaching you. About Earth, about humanity, about where we’re coming from and where we’re going to.
Other recommended works: Just about anything else by Carl Sagan, A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
I decided to read Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" after reading his wonderful book "Contact." (Much better than the movie!) His descriptions throughout that book were simple enough that I could understand, but not so simple that I felt like I was missing out on the important aspects. "Cosmos" is even better.
A science book that is actually interesting, the descriptions and explanations are in-depth and comprehensive, but easy enough for a non-scientist to understand. Although written quite a while ago in terms of science, I feel like this book gives a great basic understanding to many concepts, allowing me to read newer, and more difficult, books. I definitely recommend this for any person who wants a better understanding of the cosmos, especially those with little to no scientific background.
Posted November 12, 2009
I recall when the Cosmos Series was on television and what a wonderful experience it was. It was my first introduction to Carl Sagan and his warm, welcoming manner and
friendly presentation made me a loyal viewer for the entire series.
The Book, Cosmos, I purchased for reading for my travels in Italy in celebration of the
IYA2009 and it was a perfect choice. Carl Sagan's heart and mind pour our of every page and everything he presents is well within the grasp of even scientifically challenged readers like me. The warmth and human quality of the book make it one i cannot recommend strongly enough. Read it, then read it again. You're welcome. jb
Posted April 9, 2009
This book really changed my life. First I watched the TV series and later I read the book. After all I was more and more interested in Science. I was really amazed about what we really don't know about the Universe. It also helped me to realize how wonderful is everything that God created, and that through Science we are discovering. God Bless Carl Sagan for giving us this magnificent book !
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Posted May 29, 2007
Sagan does a great job explaining the general universe from pulsars to quasars etc. Sagan also makes a good point in not denying or supporting religion, as a good writer should do on this subject.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 10, 2006
Posted July 28, 2004
Cosmos turned me on to the scientific method and changed my life. I was transformed into a scientist from a muddled-thinking superstitious religionist. It instilled an excitement and thrill for the quest for knowledge of the real world, rather than a groveling hope for rewards and happiness in some fairy tale supernatural existance when I die. I am forever indebted to Sagan for the happiness that comes from the courageous pursuit of truth, in the face of comforting dogmas.
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Posted October 23, 2002
Undoubtedly the masterpiece from a great master of words and ideas. What an account of evolution of cosmos, life, civilization, art, science and ofcourse superstitions!!! While going through this marvelous story of "everything" all your senses are awakened. Who said, logic and emotions dont go together?? Read COSMOS...try to "feel" the earnest plea Carl Sagan makes when he asks us to "behave" ourselves...!!! I recommend COSMOS to everyone!! EVERYONE!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2002
This is, probably, one of the easiest book to read I 've seen, the holy book for any scientific mind. So concise, simple, flavoured, fascinating, breathtaking.You also have to see the 13 chapter TV series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 8, 2002
Posted August 13, 2001
How can you convince the entire world to read something? I suppose you could put one in every hotel room, or give them away to people on the street, or you could make a 13-hour television series and put it on PBS (which is what they did). There's a reason this book has been given a 5 star rating. Trust me...read this book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 17, 2001
The theories discussed in this book are breath taking. It is written so beautifully, its as if it portrays a tv in your mind in constant flowing information. The things Carl describes are unimaginable. This book inspires you. You will never look at the sky the same way you always have.....Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 19, 2000
This second Masterpiece from Carl Sagan is better most documentaries with a book companion. The detailed scientific and historical information is laid out beautifully with no stone left unturned. Dr. Sagan shows that We are indebted to the thousands of years of research that came before in other cultures. Without them, there would have been no advancement. And he knows how to show that many of the problems that We face today are of our own making and the responsibility to solve those problems is Our Own, NOT someone else. This book and the TV series should be in use as mandatory science education tools in our schools. They are both far superior to the textbooks and techniques currently in use.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.