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Publisher's Summary

Neil deGrasse Tyson has a talent for explaining the mysteries of outer space with stunning clarity and almost childlike enthusiasm. This collection of his essays from Natural History magazine explores a myriad of cosmic topics, from astral life at the frontiers of astrobiology to the movie industry's feeble efforts to get its images of night skies right.

Tyson introduces us to the physics of black holes by explaining what would happen to our bodies if we fell into one; he also examines the needless friction between science and religion, and notes Earth's status as "an insignificantly small speck in the cosmos".

Renowned for his ability to blend content, accessibility, and humor, Tyson is a natural teacher who simplifies some of the most complex concepts in astrophysics while sharing his infectious excitement for our universe.

©2007 Neil deGrasse Tyson; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Tyson takes readers on an exciting journey from Earth's hot springs...to the universe's farthest reaches....witty and entertaining." (Publishers Weekly)
"Smoothly entertaining, full of fascinating tidbits, and frequently humorous, these essays show Tyson as one of today's best popularizers of science." (Kirkus Reviews)
"[Tyson] demonstrates a good feel for explaining science in an intelligible way to interested lay readers; his rather rakish sense of humor should aid in making the book enjoyable." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • RAANAN
  • Hod Hasharon, Israel
  • 03-08-13

Enjoyed it a lot

If you could sum up Death by Black Hole in three words, what would they be?

Educating, fun, amazing

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

Makes complicated stuff simple to understand. Narration is brilliant.

What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

He makes this book even better than it would have been had I read it myself.

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

Yes

Any additional comments?

I heard it twice. I think I'll hear it again.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Rob
  • LEXINGTON, SC, United States
  • 03-05-13

For the beginner...

Any additional comments?

I have degrees in chemical and nuclear engineering. I LOVE Stephen Hawking's books (although sometimes I have to back them up and relisten to understand a concept). This book is not on that level... at all. However, it is very well read and is perfect for a teen or pre-teen or someone with little to no background in science who is interested in learning some really neat stuff about the universe. I know this because both of my sons and my nephew enjoyed it. <br/><br/>So if you have a PhD in Quantum Physics, you might skip this one. Otherwise, pick it up - you'll enjoy it.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • Las Vegas, NV, United States
  • 02-20-13

Fascinating subject matter

Neil deGrasse Tyson makes it cool to be a space geek. He is the epitome of the rock star scientist, and he plays that role very well. His book (though dated now) covers a range of fascinating subjects that will appeal to the space geek in all of us. He makes very complex subjects (relatively) easy to understand. This book is actually a collection of essays, all of them enjoyable.

Then there's the narration. Dion Graham does a fine job for the most part, but someone REALLY needs to teach him how to read Roman Numerals. He also makes a few deliberate mispronunciations that ground my mental gears when I'd hear them. Other than that the production quality is fine. If you're curious, or just want to satisfy your inner geek, buy this book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Yvonne
  • Twentynine Palms, CA, USA
  • 05-30-09

Explaining the Unknown

The author does a great job of explaining scientific concepts so someone without an advanced degree in physics can understand. Great non-fiction read for those who want to continue to expand their knowledge about the world(s) around us.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kathryn
  • Prunedale, CA, United States
  • 12-08-08

Fascinating! Hated to put it down

This book was not only enjoyable it was engrossing. I could not wait to get back to it every time I had to put it down. The author explains complex astrophysics in layman's terms. I enjoyed his lighthearted explanation of how the universe works. A broad spectrum of topics from the sub-atomic to complex molecules and how they are made are covered. I found myself saying "Oh yeah - I remember that from high school!" (40 years ago). Explaining the nuts and bolts of matter and how they make up our universe was very useful to me in understanding the relationship between planets, stars and galaxies.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great intro to astrophysics...

I love this book. Brought somewhat compicated concepts to life, with lots of colorful examples, great metaphores. I really love the humor, and the skill of the narrator. This book gives me a way to share my passion for science with my 9-12 year old children.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Pure Magic

This book is pure magic. I hated physics when I was at school, possibly because the teacher didn't have the talent for teaching that Mr (or Dr) Tyson does. The information is presented in an humourous form but imparts the basic knowledge in a way that's easy to learn. The narrator does an excellent job, making the book come alive for you. I was totally impressed and adore the book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Quality Stuff

I really loved this book. My only complaint which is a small one is that he touched on so many different topics that he didn't go quite as far in depth as I would have liked in some areas. That being said there is still a substantial amount of science to wrap your brain around in this book. Enough there to merit a second listen even. I enjoyed every minute.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Well Written and Read

Would you listen to Death by Black Hole again? Why?

Yes. There is a lot of information available in the book, I don't think it is possible to glean everything from the book in a single read or listen.

What did you like best about this story?

Dion Graham does an amazing job reading the book.

What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

The excitement in his voice was contagious.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Simple humans trying to understand an immense universe.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Todd
  • Duluth, MN, United States
  • 11-01-13

Compelling, but not perfect

What did you love best about Death by Black Hole?

The astrophysics described in this book is riveting and accessible to the non-astrophysicist. He makes the universe seem much more real to the layperson.

Have you listened to any of Dion Graham’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Dion Graham does a good job with this narration.

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

I laughed a few times, but also became frustrated when the author began to stray away from his field of expertise.

Any additional comments?

The author does a commendable job of describing extraordinarily difficulty subject matter and making it understandable to the non-physicist. However, there are times when he (seemingly inadvertently) delves into a psychological examination astrophysics and how it relates to the average person. This is where he falls somewhat short. At one point, he lists "the southern cross as a beautiful constellation" among several other much more empirical statements, and tries to persuade the reader that it is not particularly beautiful. He goes into length about how the southern cross maybe should not have the reputation it does, but at no point presents empirical evidence about its beauty. This and a few other examples serve to point out the author's misunderstanding of the psychology involved with the human reaction to astrophysics. However, it is a very interesting listen and I do recommend it to people. This is with the caveat that this physicist is adept at explaining physics to lay people, but despite his expertise in his field, he has a limited understanding of other scientific foci.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful