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Don't Know Much About the Universe: Everything You Need to Know About the Cosmos | [Kenneth C. Davis]

Don't Know Much About the Universe: Everything You Need to Know About the Cosmos

In the latest addition to his best selling and critically acclaimed Don't Know Much About® series, Kenneth Davis delivers a lively and clear guide to the discoveries, theories, and real people that have shaped space exploration from the beginning of civilization to the present. He looks at issues that go beyond the bounds of simple "Science 101" and asks the kinds of questions we may have wanted to ask back in school but didn't have the nerve.
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Publisher's Summary

From the ancients who charted the stars, to Jules Verne and Flash Gordon, to The X-Files, Apollo 13, and Armageddon, people through the ages have been intrigued with the heavens and outer space. And yet so many of us look up at the night sky and have to admit that we are totally in the dark when it comes to the most basic facts about the heavens.

Into the void steps Kenneth C. Davis with the latest addition to his best selling and critically acclaimed Don't Know Much About® series. Don't Know Much About the Universe is a lively and clear guide to the discoveries, theories, and real people that have shaped space exploration from the beginning of civilization to the present.

From a historical overview of man's fascination with space to a guided tour of our solar system and beyond, Kenneth Davis seeks, as always, to entertain as he teaches. He looks at issues that go beyond the bounds of simple "Science 101" and asks the kinds of questions we may have wanted to ask back in school but didn't have the nerve: Who dug those canals on Mars? Is a "blue moon" really blue? What does astronomy have to do with astrology? Will we end with a bang or a whimper?

Kenneth Davis has taught us about history, geography, the Civil War, and the Bible. Now he reaches for the heavens and proves once again that learning can be fun.

©2001 Kenneth C. Davis; (P)2001 Random House Inc., Bantam Doubelday Dell Audio Publishing, a Division of Random House Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (149 )
5 star
 (44)
4 star
 (51)
3 star
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2 star
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Overall
4.3 (24 )
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3 star
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Story
4.3 (24 )
5 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Eileen 06-13-08
    Eileen 06-13-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I didn't know anything about the Universe"

    This is another one in a series of books for those of us who had boring teachers in middle school. It gives an interesting informative presentation on the universe. Even if you listened in school 30 years ago there is enough new discoveries to make this a good listen.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam Sellersville, PA, USA 09-30-05
    Adam Sellersville, PA, USA 09-30-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    3
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    "Eh"

    I typically enjoy learning about most anything. Unfortunatly, a large part of this book was just difficult to listen to. The narrater reads, obviously, everything. So we are stuck listening to distances in miles and then in kilometers. We listen to all of the enries in a table that probably are interesting in the text, but are almost useless to listen to. I found the timelines a bit rough as well. I imagine that the book itself comes off much better.

    On the flip side, this does provide a nice overview of the solar sytem and the universe, and the scientific achievements that have helped us to understand it.

    I give it only two stars because it scores low in its ability to keep me awake during my commute.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Guilford, CT, United States 11-18-05
    Jean Guilford, CT, United States 11-18-05 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "If you don't know much yet, this is a good program"

    If I were just beginning to explore the topic, this would have been a good program for me. If you've done extensive reading on the topic, this is not the program for you -- nothing new. Some cute references to our '60s & '70s adolecent reactions to dry science "education" such as the highlight of biology class when the teacher accidentally explodes the bunson burner -- hehe.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher SYLMAR, CA, United States 02-11-04
    Christopher SYLMAR, CA, United States 02-11-04 Member Since 2000
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    "An excellent revuiew of the story so far"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this round-up of the history of the universe. Sensibly broken into five parts, it gives a good overview of astronomy and addresses the larger questions contained in creation.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron San Antonio, TX, USA 02-27-05
    Aaron San Antonio, TX, USA 02-27-05 Member Since 2000
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    "Nice Starting Point for Astronomy"

    This is a nice way to start if you are interested in astronomy. This is not a book for someone looking for deep technical science. This is simply a nice overview for those of us with a general interest in science and astronomy. There has been another book published recently that I also recommend, A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. It also tries to boil down complex science into something the casual reader can understand.

    I?m sure since Kenneth Davis wrote this book some people will try to accuse him of putting a liberal spin on the Universe. Ignore people like that who learn everything they know from Rush Limbaugh and read interesting books like this for yourself.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom seattle, WA, USA 08-07-06
    Tom seattle, WA, USA 08-07-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredibly annoying"

    The only reason I gave this book 2 stars is that the information is technically there, but it's very tough to get through. The author's jokes are beyond condescending. He tells them like a kindergarten teacher who never notices that the children aren't laughing. Add to that the bizarrely out of place social commentaries (such as Ronald Reagan's foreign policy decisions). It's just too much to put up with.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carl Jacksonville , FL, USA 02-04-06
    Carl Jacksonville , FL, USA 02-04-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A miss leading title"

    I found this book to contain very little regarding the universe. The author spent most of the time discussing mythology and the history of astronomy. He is very repetative. He also spent much time discribing the development of space travel. About 10 minutes of this book deals with anything outside the solor system. I am sorry I wasted my money on it.

    7 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory Florida, USA 05-09-05
    Gregory Florida, USA 05-09-05 Member Since 2012
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    "Recommended!"

    I highly recommend this book for anyone new to the field of astronomy. This book helped me fill in the gaps that I have in my knowledge of astronomy and cosmology. I will probably listen to this one many times over!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim Calgary, AB, Canada 05-28-03
    Kim Calgary, AB, Canada 05-28-03
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't Know Much About the Universe"

    A repetitive collection of vignettes. Get this book only if you are unaware of the fact there is stars..

    15 of 28 people found this review helpful
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