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Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries | [Neil deGrasse Tyson]

Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

Neil deGrasse Tyson has a talent for guiding readers through the mysteries of outer space with stunning clarity and almost childlike enthusiasm. This collection of his essays from Natural History magazine explores a myriad of cosmic topics. Tyson introduces us to the physics of black holes by explaining what would happen to our bodies if we fell into one; he also examines the needless friction between science and religion, and notes Earth's status as "an insignificantly small speck in the cosmos".
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Publisher's Summary

Neil deGrasse Tyson has a talent for explaining the mysteries of outer space with stunning clarity and almost childlike enthusiasm. This collection of his essays from Natural History magazine explores a myriad of cosmic topics, from astral life at the frontiers of astrobiology to the movie industry's feeble efforts to get its images of night skies right.

Tyson introduces us to the physics of black holes by explaining what would happen to our bodies if we fell into one; he also examines the needless friction between science and religion, and notes Earth's status as "an insignificantly small speck in the cosmos".

Renowned for his ability to blend content, accessibility, and humor, Tyson is a natural teacher who simplifies some of the most complex concepts in astrophysics while sharing his infectious excitement for our universe.

©2007 Neil deGrasse Tyson; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Tyson takes readers on an exciting journey from Earth's hot springs...to the universe's farthest reaches....witty and entertaining." (Publishers Weekly)
"Smoothly entertaining, full of fascinating tidbits, and frequently humorous, these essays show Tyson as one of today's best popularizers of science." (Kirkus Reviews)
"[Tyson] demonstrates a good feel for explaining science in an intelligible way to interested lay readers; his rather rakish sense of humor should aid in making the book enjoyable." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (2386 )
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  •  
    K. Schallitz Livermore, CA USA 08-19-11
    K. Schallitz Livermore, CA USA 08-19-11 Listener Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Cool read for the general public"

    Niel Tyson is a great story teller. Most of this book was very interesting and well delivered. There were a couple of stories though that made me more or less fall asleep, so unfortunately I can only go with three stars here. I recognize that the book is more or less a compendium of magazine articles, however, this is also the other reason I'm going with three stars - many of the stories repeat a bit and I found that to be a bit clunky.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    01-22-11
    01-22-11
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    "Deceptive & Arrogant"

    The title of the book is extraordinarily misleading and I was extremely disappointed in the content of the book and having to wait for more than half the volume to even hear a mention of Black Holes! Not that this book is poorly written, it is not. However, much of the content seems like it belongs in a H.S. science book and the other half is glossed over so much as to annoy those that really want to delve into these subject areas.
    Narration is even more annoying than the wait to find out that the author is going to talk about what he titled the book! I do not want to believe that the author intended to come across so arrogantly and condescendingly? If so, then they sure found the right narrator, not to mention his voice is grating and not at all soothing to listen to.
    You will not have wasted a credit if you choose to download this book; however, there are many many better choices in the science area than this one. I give is a 2 star rating.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Smyrna, GA, United States 11-03-10
    Scott Smyrna, GA, United States 11-03-10
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    "Very, very childish"

    This book would only be good for children if it weren't so chock-full of technical science. The narrator talks as if he's instructing kindergartners. In other words, he's teaching with great condescension. I had to turn it off. If you like your science presented to you in a very childish way, buy this.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris Willits, CA, United States 09-04-08
    Chris Willits, CA, United States 09-04-08 Member Since 2007
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    "UGH!"

    I can only be talked down to for so long and then I have to shut it off. I could not finish this one. It might be interesting for somebody with no knowledge of the subject, but if you know anything about it you will be pulling out your hair in spots. Kids might like it.

    3 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Williams 10-12-07
    B. Williams 10-12-07 Member Since 2015
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    "A very basic cosmology book"

    I give it two stars, not because it's bad particularly, but because it was too basic and simple. This would be a fine book for those that haven't read any other popular cosmology books before. If you have you will likely be bored with it's rudimentary nature. The audio quality is OK and the narration is quite good. So if it's you are looking for a simple survey of cosmology then this is your book, otherwise give it a pass and try Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe" or "The Fabric of the Cosmos".

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Folsom, CA, USA 04-10-07
    Brad Folsom, CA, USA 04-10-07
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    "A decent alternate perspective"

    The author adequately provided an alternate perspective on many issues facing the scientific community and succeeded in being an enjoyable distration from the daily commute. The only reason this didnt get 5 stars from me was because of the obvious prejudice he demonstrated against Creationism. The author would have been better served had he left out that chapter as I feel he lost a good deal of his objectivity in favor of his dislike for Creationist on the cutting room floor. Up to the final chapter where he expressed more feeling than fact, I would say this is an excellent book. Definately worth the credits if you enjoy science.

    27 of 73 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Freeman SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 02-23-15
    Freeman SAN DIEGO, CA, United States 02-23-15 Member Since 2015
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    "like binge watching star talk minus the comedy"

    save your credit and just listen to star talk. ignore these last words to meet minimum. Bernie sanders 2016 baby!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark L. Widawer 02-07-15 Member Since 2010
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    "Interesting not fascinating"

    I had high hopes to really be wowed by this book. I enjoy science books but this book fell short on entertainment value. More of a recitation of facts and history than a journey of discoveries and fascination

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Duane 11-08-14
    Duane 11-08-14 Member Since 2013
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    "not bad, but not great"

    I was expecting Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, and I didn't get it. It just didn't capture me the same way... also, not a fan of the occasional ultra-liberal high and mighty inserts targeting paranormal and other "sciences"....

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    michael 09-24-14
    michael 09-24-14
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    "Fart Jokes = Good Science?"
    What was most disappointing about Neil deGrasse Tyson’s story?

    If you listen to Neil's podcast, or have seen or heard him in other environments, you might have noticed a trend that I can't get over. That is, his insistence upon injecting a distracting, sophomoric humor into his delivery. Early in the book(spoiler alert), he explains that a yogi can't levitate because it would defy the laws of physics, unless they were to fart really hard... This and some of the other sidebars just soured the whole experience for me. I approached this book with the intention of honing my understanding of the universe and possibly be a little entertained with witty, yet relevant remarks. This did not happen. The history and workings of the cosmos were presented at a grade-school level with grade-school jokes. I'm not sure why Neil does this, and I don't want to sound like I don't like his work, I might even try another of his books from audible, but this one was a miss, overall.

    If you are an adult looking for an entertaining listen, try Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything." You will get a much more informed perspective, with intelligent and relevant commentary. And even though I'm sure some of the more advanced physics are outdated, the information is much better presented.


    What didn’t you like about Dion Graham’s performance?

    It was fine.


    What character would you cut from Death by Black Hole?

    The farting yogi.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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