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The Planets
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Promotional Information

/ Key title / Includes PS Section After the huge national and international success of 'Longitude' and 'Gallileo's Daughter', Dava Sobel tells the human story of the nine planets of our solar system. / A major non-fiction title from the author of 'Longitude' and 'Gallileo's Daughter'. / Critical success of 'The Planets' in hardback selling over 30,000 copies in the UK alone. / Over 1 million copies of 'Longitude' sold in paperback in the UK. / Stunning new paperback package.

About the Author

Dava Sobel, a former New York Times science reporter, is the author of `Longitude', a prize-winning international bestseller, and `Galileo's Daughter', which was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. She has co-authored six books, including `Is Anyone Out There?' with astronomer Frank Drake, and `The Illustrated Longitude' with William J. H. Andrewes. Dava Sobel has won a number of awards for her outstanding contribution towards public understanding of science. She lives in East Hampton, New York.

Reviews

Once again, best-selling author Sobel (Galileo's Daughter) brings science to readers across the spectrum. Her writing is vivid and poetic as she looks at each planet, including the sun and moon, from various scientific and cultural perspectives. The chapter on Earth, for example, begins with the story of Ptolemy's attempts at mapmaking in the year 150 C.E.; the chapter on Saturn opens with a discussion of 20th-century composer Gustav Holst and his orchestral suite the The Planets. In each chapter, Sobel deftly weaves together astrology, music, art, popular culture, history, biography, poetry, and science fiction with current knowledge about our solar system. The resulting fabric offers something for all readers, even those who think they might not be interested in science and space. Highly recommended for public libraries of all sizes and smaller academic libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/05.]-Denise Dayton, Jaffrey Grade Sch., NH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

'An enchanting book. In prose that is by turns lyrical and wry, and always filled with an infectious sense of wonder, she moves engagingly through our solar system ! Sobel's enthusiasm for her subject is absolute and she succeeds in transmitting it to the reader, quite a feat when the subject matter can be so tricky to grasp. Much of the passion feeds directly from the astronomers themselves, their great discoveries and their endless yearning for understanding.' Sunday Telegraph 'In this enthralling, accessible book, bestselling author Dava Sobel provides a detailed portrait of each heavenly body. Drawing on myth and history, astrology and science fact as well as science fiction, she tells a story that will have you gazing up at the night skies with renewed fascination.' Daily Mail 'If you like your science lyrical Dava Sobel is the author for you.' Independent 'It is science that excites Sobel. There's a real gee-whizzery about her treatment of telescopes and space probes and their many astonishing discoveries in recent years. It is hard to imagine a better picture of the dangerous and inhospitable nature of our solar system, where the existence of any form of life, let alone one capable of travelling to other worlds, is nothing less than a miracle. The book is also a timely reminder of the fragility of the little green spacecraft on which we are all passengers.' John Moorish, Independent on Sunday '"The Planets" is a very agreeable read.' Patrick Moore, Guardian 'A highly informative book as well as a loveably odd one. It educates and entertains and deserves every success.' Scotland on Sunday 'At her best, Sobel writes beautifully and conveys complex information with elegance and charm ! "The Planets" would be worth reading simply to learn of the startling difference between the inner, solid, sun-driven planets and the outer, gaseous, space-generated hangers on. It is a bonus to be reminded so vividly of the infinite beauty and frailty of the world and our place in' Spectator 'A gracious and delightful introduction to the very diverse heavenly bodies that orbit our sun, our precious source of heat and light.If you wish to tour the heaven, you could hardly find a more charming and beguiling guide' Glasgow Herald 'Sobel's restless curiosity raises, and settles, a multitude of questions' Sunday Times 'In this enthralling, accessible book, bestselling author Dava Sobel provides a detailed portrait of each heavenly body. Drawing on myth and history, astrology and science fact as well as science fiction, she tells a story that will have you gazing up at the night skies with renewed fascination' YOU Magazine, Daily Mail

Sobel's purpose in this lovely and personal volume is to show us the planets as she sees them. Writing in quite a different mode than in her best-selling Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Sobel offers intimate essays inspired by the planets in our solar system, which she describes as "an assortment of magic beans or precious gems in a little private cabinet of wonderAportable, evocative, and swirled in beauty." She frames each essay in a different light, using a particular planet as a stepping stone toward a discussion of larger issues. Her "Jupiter" essay becomes a meditation on astrology, while her essay on the Sun, which relates the actual birth of the universe seemingly ex nihilo, evokes the Genesis account of creation in both its themes and the cadence of its language. Put simply, Sobel's conceits work (even, remarkably, the essay on Mars written from the perspective of a Martian rock) because each beautifully frames its planet. An essay that begins with the story of Sobel's grandmother coming to the United States as an immigrant, for example, sets up the author's musings on the odd nature of Pluto as somewhere in between "planet" and "other." This resonant and eclectic collection,informative, entertaining and poeticAis a joy to read. Agent, Michael Carlisle. (On sale Oct. 11) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Adult/High School-The author's lifelong fascination with our solar system is evident in these essays that blend the latest scientific knowledge with popular culture, mythology, astrology, literature, music, and more. Beginning with the Big Bang and the Sun in Genesis, Sobel presents the nine planets in turn, inviting readers to share her sense of wonder. Each selection begins with a different point of view. In "Sci-Fi," an ancient meteorite talks of the formation and physical nature of Mars; it is followed by an imaginative discussion of the colonization of the planet, including the views of science-fiction writers. "Night Air" begins with a letter from Caroline Herschel, daughter of Uranus discoverer William Herschel, and also his assistant to the American astronomer Maria Mitchell. Readers will probably assume that this is a real letter; not until the "Details" section at the end of the book is it revealed that it is fiction, although factually accurate. The writing is clear and elegant, almost lyrical at times, and the research is thorough. This unique and attractive book will be of interest to both science students and general readers.-Sandy Freund, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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