American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World

American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World

by David Baron
American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World

American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World

by David Baron

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Rivalries are fun to read about — and here, fact is stranger than fiction as two scientists race against time and each other to experience a total solar eclipse. This tense and vivid narrative is packed with personality.

Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Prize for Literary Science Writing
Winner of the AIP Science Communication Award
An Amazon Best Book of the Year (Science)
A St. Louis Post-Dispatch Best Book of the Year
Finalist for the Colorado Book Award (Nonfiction)
Booklist Editors’ Choice (Science & Technology)

Featuring a new afterword priming readers for the total solar eclipse of 2024, this “essential” (BBC) account brilliantly captures the celestial and human drama of eclipses.

With this “suspenseful narrative history” (Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air), award-winning science writer David Baron tells the story of the enterprising scientists—among them, planet hunter James Craig Watson, pioneering astronomer Maria Mitchell, and ambitious young inventor Thomas Edison—who raced to Wyoming and Colorado in the summer of 1878, at the dawn of the Gilded Age, to observe the first great American eclipse. Thrillingly recreating the fierce jockeying of these nineteenth-century astronomers, Baron draws on years of “exhaustive research to reconstruct a remarkable chapter of U.S. history” (Lee Billings, Scientific American), when the fate of American science still hung precariously in the balance. Now updated with an afterword that unites eclipses and eclipse-chasers past and present—revisiting the total solar eclipse of 2017 and looking forward to that of 2024—American Eclipse reveals the enduring power of these ethereal events to bring people together across space and time.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781324094692
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 02/13/2024
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 13,537
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

About The Author
David Baron, an award-winning journalist and author of The Beast in the Garden, is a former science correspondent for NPR and former science editor for the public radio program The World. An incurable umbraphile whose passion for chasing eclipses began in 1998, he lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Prologue: Shall the Sun Be Darkened 1

Part 1 1876

Chapter 1 Reign of Shoddy 9

Chapter 2 Professor of Quadruplicity 19

Chapter 3 Nemesis 27

Chapter 4 "Petticoat Parliament" 34

Part 2 1878

Chapter 5 Politics and Moonshine 45

Chapter 6 The Wizard in Washington 60

Chapter 7 Sic Transit 70

Chapter 8 "Good Woman That She Are" 80

Chapter 9 Show Business 89

Part 3 1878

Chapter 10 Among the Tribes of Uncivilization 105

Chapter 11 Queen City 119

Chapter 12 Nature's Editor 133

Chapter 13 Old Probabilities 150

Part 4 1878

Chapter 14 Favored Mortals 167

Chapter 15 First Contact 175

Chapter 16 Totality 183

Chapter 17 American Genius 197

Part 5 1878-1931

Chapter 18 Ghosts 207

Chapter 19 Shadow and Light 221

Epilogue: Tendrils of History 231

Notes on Sources 239

List of Illustrations 283

Select Bibliography 289

Acknowledgments 309

Index 317

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