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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 (405 )
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Performance
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  •  
    John 02-01-09
    John 02-01-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    214
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    "A Great Value"

    If you are looking for a science textbook (as some reviewers of Dr. Tyson's other book seem to be) this is not for you.

    However, if you are looking for something enjoyable you can't wrong for the price Audible is offering this book for. It really is a steal at around, 5 dollars . . . I mean, Unabridged for less than 10? It is (as of this writing) more expensive to buy the real book!

    There is little "advanced" science in this book (most of it you will likely know from middle school), so if you are looking for something to make you "Mr. Smart Pants" in front of your friends, again, not the book for you.

    What you will find in it is a lot of history of science, comments on how we present science to the public, and observations on how the public views science. Dr. Tyson writes it all with wit and charm, which the narrator brings off with a degree of skill.

    If you are looking to be entertained this audiobook is a good choice, and as a bonus you might even take away some new ideas on how information is presented.

    32 of 33 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Houston, TX, USA 02-12-09
    Laura Houston, TX, USA 02-12-09
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    "A Light and Still Revealing Read"

    This is a great read (or listen) that provides a overview of the story around the 'demotion of Pluto'. Witty, with just enough science to satisfy, this is a wonderful case study of the challenges involved in changing entrenched views and how even fact-demanding scientists can be swayed by public opinion and emotion. My only modest complaint is that Dr. Tyson did not do the recording. Having seen him on The Universe (and even The Daily Show), I found myself wanting to hear him do the speaking.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 09-02-12
    Joe Kansas City, MO, United States 09-02-12 Member Since 2011

    I read science, biographies, histories, mysteries, adventures, thrillers, educationals, linguistics but not no way, not no how, romances.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun and Diverting"

    It's amazing how attached people got to Pluto, the little planet that tried. This book details with humor, grace, science, history and some good old fun narration, the way Pluto came to be a planet and then morphed into something else. For the science nerd (like me) there's a lot about the history of space examination and exploration, for the historian there's a lot about how Pluto became part of the national identity and for those who love whimsy you'll enjoy how this little planet became the center a huge debate.

    Tyson's other book "Death By Black Hole" is better, with a better narrator. But this is a fast and fun read that made me smile throughout. You'll like it. I promise.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 02-11-13
    Blake Portland, OR, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A short, fun, fascinating easy listen."

    This book is part humor, part science and part history, but completely entertaining. Good clean fun and great bang for the buck. It's too bad it has to be so short, but every chapter is quality. This is a good one to pay money for, especially if you can get it on sale, because it's cheaper than using a credit and the book isn't long enough to merit using a credit on. You could easily blow through it while doing your chores on a Saturday afternoon. Especially because you won't want to stop listening.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 09-07-14
    C. Telfair Shepherdstown, WV, United States 09-07-14

    Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Much Ado"

    I like Neil deGrasse Tyson (tho he's no Carl Sagan!), and I love the idea of this short book. The first couple of hours have some interesting information about the big bru-ha-ha over the "demotion" of Pluto from planethood.

    But, OMG, after that! I think Tyson may have mentioned by name every single member of every Astronomical Society in the world! Maybe twice! His need to wriggle out of responsibility for disappointing school children and Plutophiles everywhere is at times funny, at times very exasperating - and nearly always repetitous.

    I believe that this book just about sums up why our society has become so anti-intellectual. Scholars argue and backbite and fret about the "masses" daring to have opinions.

    And there is Pluto, still in the heavens and not the slightest bit concerned!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt 04-21-10
    Matt 04-21-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Enjoyable and Entertaining"

    I found Dr. Tyson's tale to be insightful, educational, and very entertaining. I was introduced to Dr. Tyson through his appearances on The Daily Show. He's just as entertaining in this audiobook as he is chatting with Jon Stewart.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Baters WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA, US 12-20-12
    Christopher Baters WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIANA, US 12-20-12
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    "Fun Trip Through Pluto's History"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. This book is very interesting, and it brings up wonderful points about how people and the media can be so passionate about things they know so little about.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved the systematic progression through the history of Pluto. This gives a background to work with when you get to the stories later in the book.


    Which character – as performed by Mirron Willis – was your favorite?

    Neil deGrasse Tyson


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. It was great for a 6 hour drive home for Thanksgiving.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 03-13-09
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 03-13-09
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    "Mixed"

    I found the first half of the book informative and amusing. As to the second half, I thought if I heard one more e-mail read I would scream. I give the first half a 5 and the second half a generous 2.

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone 08-27-14
    Simone 08-27-14 Member Since 2006

    Join me on GoodReads too!

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    "Just as Expected"

    I only bought it because it was on sale for 2$ and I got my money’s worth. If you like pop-astronomy you’ll be interested; if you don’t, you won’t.

    Over all it was dry, but because it was short it wasn’t so bad. Some boring parts, some interesting factoids….

    I don’t have a whole lot to say on this one!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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    Jeffery T. Harris 08-07-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Not a Pity Party for Pluto"
    Where does The Pluto Files rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I enjoyed The Pluto Files very much. I enjoy most of what I've read and listened to from Neil deGrasse Tyson and this one was enlightening and fun. The blend of science and humor makes him easy for laypersons and scholars alike. The Pluto Files provides an understanding of why we only have 8 planets in the solar system now and the events leading to this.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked the inclusion of some of the letters people wrote to Dr. Tyson. It was a nice touch to see things from his perspective.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Mirron Willis?

    I would probably give him another shot although I should say I was not entirely blown away. He had a nice steady pace which made it easy to follow along. He had a few moments of emotion coming through which I actually thought made some of the chapters more entertaining.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reactions.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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