The Planets

The Planets - Dava Sobel This is a nice pleasant book to read, but I don't think it is the author's best. I found Longitude and Galileo's Daughter to be better books overall. Part of the reason that I did not think as much of the book is the chapter on Uranus and Neptune where she uses a long letter as the way to carry the chapter narrative. The conceit went on for way too long to the point that I just skimmed it. Compared to the other chapters, the narrative on that chapter slowed the book down. For example, the chapter using the point of view of a small meteorite fragment to illuminate a planet's history was pretty creative, but it was also concise. However, in spite of some shortcomings, the book overall is worth reading. You will learn about the planets and the solar system in terms of the science, the history, and the popular culture. You get a nice journey through time from the ancients' view of the planets and stars to today's astronomers using the latest and best telescopes; you also get to learn about the various unmanned probes we have sent into space and what they have accomplished. And you get it all in a nice, small, easy to read book. If you like Sobel's previous works, you will probably enjoy this book as well. If you enjoy microhistory books in general, then you will enjoy this one as well.