The year of Pluto's discovery, Disney created an irresistible pup by the same name, and, as one NASA scientist put it, Pluto was "discovered by an American for America." Pluto is entrenched in our cultural, patriotic view of the cosmos, and Neil deGrasse Tyson is on a quest to discover why.
©2009 Neil deGrasse Tyson; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"A lighthearted look at the planet....Presents the medicine of hard science with a sugarcoating of lightness and humor." (Publishers Weekly)
Before reading this book I was one of the people offended on behalf of Pluto. After hearing this book I had a much greater understanding of several aspects of astronomy and how decisions come to be "They say...." statements that get picked up by the press.
Certain parts of this were really interesting, especially the history of Pluto's discovery and what was going on culturally at the time. But mid-way through the book it turned into a sort of long, boring, defensive ego-fest/rehash of media hubbub. The majority of the book felt far more focused on Tyson himself than it did on Pluto. I couldn't help but wish it had been written by someone a little less involved--then we might have gotten a little more actual substance.
Neil brings fun to the history of Pluto. As a fan of Pluto who was originally very upset about the demotion, I was angry with Neil. But after this book, I forgive you Neil.
I have never read the print version. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the audio edition.
As it was nonfiction, there weren't really characters to speak of. There were real people involved - mostly the author or the book, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Pluto is a planet
Pluto is not a planet
Pluto might be a planet
Pluto might be an asteroid
Pluto might be a comet
Pluto has a moon
Pluto doesn't have a moon
Pluto is a moon
Pluto is a binary system
Pluto orbits its moon
Pluto's moon orbits Pluto
Pluto is a proto-planet
Pluto is a dog created by Disney
Pluto is Pluto is a God of death
The truth is that whether Pluto is a planet or not doesn't really matter.
By the logic of this book: if you only have one example of something, you cannot classify it. You need two of something to classify anything. Rubbish! By this logic if Jupiter was our only gas giant it would be unclassifiable.
Pluto is an excuse for snarky scientists to waste their intellect and reasoning ability.
If scientists focused as much energy on science as they do trying to tear each other down, we'd be a lot further along than we are now with our collective discovery of knowledge.
I hate snarky scientists and snarky science. But, then again scientists can't be expected to use their intelligence constructively all the time.
The book mistakenly makes a point St. Christopher no longer a saint. This is not true. While there is little known about him, St. Christopher is still a recognized saint. What was changed was that his feast day was removed from the liturgical calendar. A lot of recognized saints do not have feast days.
Had Disney not named their cartoon dog Pluto, I doubt this book would ever been written.
Also, other than the author, who ever said that Pluto or any other planet was America's favorite?
Do I care if Pluto is a planet or not. Not really.
This just gives everyone an excuse to vote funding elsewhere.
I found the book to be both condescending and snarky.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
It is exactly what you'd expect: a history of the discovery and debates regarding planet Pluto. I expected it to be better than this.
71 year old avid reader using either my eyes or ears. I make earrings that I donate to shelters and while I work, I listen to wonderful books. I also keep in mind that you have to kiss frogs to find princes - time's too short to bother with losers.
This seemed to me to be a defense of his decision as to the display at the Hayden Planetarium. I wanted more science and less of Neil's self.
If they were kind of geeky, yes. This book really stretched the discussion to the limit (of my tolerance anyways)
It was easy to follow, and there were some quite interesting topics discussed.
Ummmm ... just barely... I felt the discussion was drawn out too long.
No insult intended to the narrator, but if Neil deGrasse Tyson had narrated this himself, it would have made this book better... he has such a nice voice.
Audible obsessed lifelong learner.
An interesting read on how educated people can get wrapped up in nostalgia and labeling things. The exposure over the Pluto declassification as a plant certainly stocked the discussion on scientific topics.
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