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Publisher's Summary

The fascinating science and history of the air we breathe.

It's invisible. It's ever present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell.

In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times best-selling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it.

With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the Ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation.

Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2017 Sam Kean (P)2017 Hachette Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

vastly entertaining

Sam makes science fun and accessible via great story telling. You won't regret reading any of his books. They all entertain and inform.

34 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 02-03-18

Review of the history of understanding gases

Caesar's Last Breath is a non-fiction book about gases beginning with those which formed earth but mostly about how humans came to understand gaseous compounds and the various gases in our atmosphere. The is a cleverly and superbly written book of science, especially chemistry written for the non-scientist. Much of it deals with the individuals who pushed science forward. As a scientist I recommend the book especially for teens with interest in science. It is both interesting and fun.

I rate this book 5 stars, but the final 30 minutes of the narration is completely Sam Kean's wild and unhelpful speculation about the future. Caesar's Last Breath would be even better if Kean had dispensed with his uninformed speculation.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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super nice listen a lot of history and sci

super nice read, a lot broader than I expected, thought I would be disappointed with science, but lots of cool tidbits

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating!

Sam Kean intermixed great stories into science and great science into stories. History, Science and future predictions.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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excellent

excellent like his other books, shame that the disappearing spoon isn't available on audible Canada

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful

Fascinating, informative and well delivered. I am a huge fan of Sam Kean. All of his works present such a clear and comprehensible explanation to some of the more difficult concepts to understand; be it neurology or the possibility of living on other planets. I highly recommend this book
JS

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Caesar's Last Breath is full of very interesting stories

The depth of research is incredible. Congrats to everyone that participated to produce this audio book.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great book! Fascinating.

I read a lot of science and I learned a ton I didn't know. Historical tales are fun, too!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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PV=NRT

Always a pleasure to listen to the stories Sam Kean has to say. Even if you've heard some of these stories before Kean has a unique way setting each tale into the broader history of our evolution in thinking. From developing order and understanding chaos, this one is an instant favorite of mine. Thanks

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Sam Kean everything

witty and informative. all of Sam keans books are well narrated and a delightful learning experience

6 of 7 people found this review helpful