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America's First Great Eclipse Audiobook

America's First Great Eclipse: How Scientists, Tourists, and the Rocky Mountain Eclipse of 1878 Changed Astronomy Forever

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Publisher's Summary

America's First Great Eclipse takes listeners on a thrilling historical journey, revealing that 19th-century Americans were just as excited about a total solar eclipse as we are today...and, like us, were willing to travel thousands of miles to see it.

The upcoming total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, is being called the Great American Eclipse. But it is not the first eclipse to deserve that title. In the summer of 1878, when the American West was still wild, hundreds of astronomers and thousands of tourists traveled by train to Wyoming, Colorado, and Texas to witness America's first "Great Eclipse".

America's First Great Eclipse tells the story of a country, and its scientists, on the brink of a new era. Near the end of the 19th century, when the United States was barely a hundred years old, American astronomers were taking the lead in a science that Europeans had dominated for centuries. Scientists like Samuel Langley, Henry Draper, Maria Mitchell, and even the inventor Thomas Edison were putting America at the forefront of what was being called the "new astronomy".

On July 29, 1878, having braved treacherous storms, debilitating altitude sickness, and the threat of Indian attacks, they joined thousands of east-coast tourists and Western pioneers as they spread out across the Great Plains and climbed to the top of 14,000-foot Pikes Peak, all to glimpse one of nature's grandest spectacles: a total solar eclipse.

It was the first time in history so many astronomers observed together from higher elevations. The Rocky Mountain eclipse of 1878 was not only a turning point in American science, but it was also the beginning of high-altitude astronomy, without which our current understanding of the universe would be impossible.

©2017 Steve Ruskin (P)2017 Steve Ruskin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    TMaulhardt 07-24-17
    TMaulhardt 07-24-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Sun gazing"

    I was fascinated to learn the techniques and findings involved in the eclipse of 1878 and to see how far we've come in understanding the sun's corona. The search for Vulcan was especially interesting and the reasons the had for the search. Highly recommend in preparation for the next great eclipse.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jace Killan 07-18-17
    Jace Killan 07-18-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Exciting for Science, Fascinating for History"
    If you could sum up America's First Great Eclipse in three words, what would they be?

    Comprehensive, Exciting, Fascinating


    What does John Pruden bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    great narration.


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

    there were several parts that i did laugh out loud. One was the reference to the universe being made of "other stuff" than earth. It's amazing how far science has come in 150 years.


    Any additional comments?

    I really enjoyed this and think it would be a great piece for any novice astronomer or historian. Or my lazy kids who've spent the summer playing video games.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patric Ryan 07-15-17
    Patric Ryan 07-15-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Are you ready for this year's total eclipse?"


    A great read! Very informative! If you are a fan of history, science, and astronomy like I am, you will love this account of The Great American Eclipse of July 29, 1878, which is just in time to get you, your class, or astronomy club ready for the next Great American Eclipse that is scheduled to happen this year on August 21st 2017, just a few months away.

    I especially like the part about Thomas Edison getting attacked by chickens during the eclipse!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Scott McClanahan 09-11-17 Member Since 2012
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    "History of an American Science Expedition"
    Would you listen to America's First Great Eclipse again? Why?

    I did driving to Arnold, Nebraska to be on the centerline for the 8-21-17 eclipse.


    What other book might you compare America's First Great Eclipse to and why?

    Hard to say.


    Which character – as performed by John Pruden – was your favorite?

    This is just a straight up narration of history.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    America's anticipation of the eclipse, and then the switch in education to math and science afterwards.


    Any additional comments?

    Should be popular again in 7 years, and maybe a sequel for the 2017?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Organ Pipe Girl Greenville, SC 08-26-17
    Organ Pipe Girl Greenville, SC 08-26-17
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    "slow story"

    I guess it was good cos it felt like the writer was alive during the title's namesake. Story moved slow for me. interesting takes on public perception and short mention of how Native Americans viewed the event prior and during. mostly about the "men" who helped advance the field of astronomy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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