The Planets by Dava Sobel

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Synopsis

With her blockbuster New York Times bestsellers Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter, Dava Sobel used her rare and luminous gift for weaving difficult scientific concepts into a compelling story to garner rave reviews and attract readers from across the literary spectrum. Now, in The Planets, Sobel brings her full talents to bear on what is perhaps her most ambitious subject to date—the planets of our solar system.

The sun’s family of planets become a familiar place in this personal account of the lives of other worlds. Sobel explores the planets’ origins and oddities through the lens of popular culture, from astrology, mythology, and science fiction to art, music, poetry, biography, and history. A perfect gift and a captivating journey, The Planets is a gorgeously illustrated study of our place in the universe that will mesmerize everyone who has ever gazed with awe at our night sky.

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About Dava Sobel

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Dava Sobel is an award-winning former science reporter for the New York Times and writes frequently about science for several magazines, including Audubon, Discover, Life, and Omni. She lives in East Hampton, New York. Arthur C. Klein is a survey designer and market research specialist. He is the best-selling co-author of Backache Relief, Arthritis: What Works, and Arthritis: What Exercises Work. He lives in East Hampton, New York.
 
Published October 31, 2006 by Penguin Books. 285 pages
Genres: Science & Math, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Planets

Kirkus Reviews

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The portion on Mars is narrated from the point of view of a Martian meteorite found in Antarctica (“Of the twenty-eight Martian meteorites definitively identified to date, I am by far the most ancient,” it explains.) Sobel continues with coverage on gigantic Jupiter, ringed Saturn, the team of Ur...

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The New York Times

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Sobel, in a brief preface recalling her earliest infatuation with the planets, describes a class play in which a student twirling two Hula-Hoops played Saturn and she appeared as the Lonely Planet.

Oct 19 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

The New York Times

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"Shimmering into view as the sun goes down, Venus hangs alone in the twilight," Dava Sobel writes in "The Planets."

Nov 13 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

The Guardian

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For instance the chapter devoted to Venus looks at the role the planet has played in poetry, whereas the chapter on Uranus and Neptune is written in the form of a long letter by Caroline Herschel, the sister of the discoverer of Uranus and predictor of the existence of Neptune.

Aug 24 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

The Guardian

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Fundamentally, the discussion of the formation and development of each body helps the reader to understand why our own planet became and remained conducive to life and yet this did not occur on other planets.

Aug 23 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

The Guardian

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Sobel's The Planets is an engaging and personal look at the more human aspects of our solar system.

Aug 23 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

The Guardian

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The chapter on Pluto includes one of the handful of enjoyable anecdotes connected to Sobel, which touches lightly on the idea of aliens - not extra terrestrials, but Sobel's forbears who arrive in America.

Aug 23 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

The Guardian

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The story of a young Kansas boy finding a planet through painstaking work and the still ongoing debate about whether it actually is a planet is told in a straightforward way and is the better for it.

Aug 23 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

The Guardian

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The Planets by Dava Sobel Fourth Estate £15, pp271 Dava Sobel has a lot to answer for.

Sep 18 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

The Guardian

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The Planets by Dava Sobel 270pp, Fourth Estate, £15 Following the success of her best-selling book Longitude, Dava Sobel, a former New York Times science reporter, has turned her attention to the planets, and has produced an account of the main members of the solar system.

Sep 03 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

Publishers Weekly

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Writing in quite a different mode than in her best-selling Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Sobel offers intimate essays inspired by the planets in our solar system, which she describes as "an assortment of magic beans or precious gems in a little private cabinet of wonder—portable, evocative,...

Jul 25 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

BC Books

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One of the 20th century’s most enduring Classical works is Gustav Holst’s The Planets.

Oct 17 2009 | Read Full Review of The Planets

USA Today

It tackles its subjects with enthusiasm (sometimes too much enthusiasm), marching from Mercury to Pluto and beyond.At times lyrical, at times somber, Sobel delivers the bare facts about the planets, often noting the dissonance between astrology's romance and astronomy's reality.Venus, for example...

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BlogHer

Tell me about one of the first blogs you first started reading...

Jul 24 2007 | Read Full Review of The Planets

Bookmarks Magazine

ISBN: 0670034460 "With a captivating mix of erudition and whimsy, she shows how the planets are repositories of meaning—not only for the ancient Mayans who worshipped (and later offered blood sacrifices to) Venus, or the Renaissance thinkers who overturned an Earth-centered universe, but for an...

Aug 27 2007 | Read Full Review of The Planets

The Space Review

(Sobel writes in the book’s acknowledgments that she was inspired in part to write this book when her agent asked her to explain the difference between the solar system and the Milky Way.) However, for someone curious but not knowledgeable about the solar system, and less likely to be impressed b...

Dec 19 2005 | Read Full Review of The Planets

Reader Rating for The Planets
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