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The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet | [Neil deGrasse Tyson]

The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet

In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted Pluto out of planethood. Far from the sun, tiny, and eccentric in orbit, it's a wonder Pluto has any fans. Yet during the mounting debate over Pluto's status, Americans rallied behind the extraterrestrial underdog.
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Publisher's Summary

In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted Pluto out of planethood. Far from the sun, tiny, and eccentric in orbit, it's a wonder Pluto has any fans. Yet during the mounting debate over Pluto's status, Americans rallied behind the extraterrestrial underdog.

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.

What the Critics Say

"A lighthearted look at the planet....Presents the medicine of hard science with a sugarcoating of lightness and humor." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (546 )
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Performance
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  •  
    P. R. Ecker 05-04-12
    P. R. Ecker 05-04-12

    Rubyview

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    "Understanding Pluto"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lara Plano, TX, USA 10-08-09
    Lara Plano, TX, USA 10-08-09
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    "Tyson v. Pluto (Tyson wins)"

    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.

    9 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ross 02-14-11
    Ross 02-14-11 Member Since 2010
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    "We love you Neil!"

    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.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. McIntyre San Jose, CA, USA 01-31-13
    C. McIntyre San Jose, CA, USA 01-31-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Interesting, Informative, Entertaining"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Pluto Files to be better than the print version?

    I have never read the print version. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the audio edition.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anthony Norwalk, CA, United States 02-13-15
    Anthony Norwalk, CA, United States 02-13-15 Member Since 2011

    Antonavich

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    "Wordy mental masturbation with a snarky attitude"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud 01-17-15
    Saud 01-17-15

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

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    "Interesting"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jacob Cortez 01-12-15 Member Since 2014
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    "good read"

    I enjoyed it. I definitely recommend it for young readers. They deserve to know of both perspectives to conjure an opinion of their own.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joan YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, United States 12-25-14
    joan YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, United States 12-25-14 Member Since 2006

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I love Neil deGrasse Tyson, but not here"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Garth Howe Mississauga, Ontario Canada 09-20-14
    Garth Howe Mississauga, Ontario Canada 09-20-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Too much said about a little .. planet?"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    If they were kind of geeky, yes. This book really stretched the discussion to the limit (of my tolerance anyways)


    Were the concepts of this book easy to follow, or were they too technical?

    It was easy to follow, and there were some quite interesting topics discussed.


    Was The Pluto Files worth the listening time?

    Ummmm ... just barely... I felt the discussion was drawn out too long.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sam Motes Tampa 09-10-14
    Sam Motes Tampa 09-10-14 Listener Since 2009

    Audible obsessed lifelong learner.

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    "Pluto's fall from grace"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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