Friday Review: Cosmos by Carl Sagan (Audiobook)

4 of 5 stars

Narrated by LeVar Burton, with foreword by Ann Druyan and introduction by Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Like just about everyone I know, I watched the public television series of Cosmos when it aired in 1980. I enjoyed it, but I don’t remember actually reading the book. So, when the audiobook came up as the free Audible book on the Amazon Echo in August, I decided to listen.

And I am glad I did. Oh, sure, some of the science is outdated, since much progress has been made since the book was written. What was new then is old knowledge now, and things that were speculated in the book have happened. But that doesn’t mean the book is not relevant. It explores not simply the science of the day, but the evolution of science itself, beginning in Greece, and tracing its way through the Egyptians, the Renaissance, and on to the present (or at least, the present at the time the book was written). It gives an understandable introduction to not only astronomy, but evolution, biology, geology, and more. The hows and whys of the chemistry of life are put in terms anyone can grasp. And we get a new sense of the wonder of our little blue marble in the vastness of space.

The science and the history are wonderful, and well worth reading even now, but what struck me was the enthusiasm Sagan had for his subjects. He truly loved and enjoyed the sciences, all of them. He understood the importance of early discoveries, even the ones proven later to be wrong, in the development of further scientific investigation. And he portrays it all in a voice that draws you in and makes you just as enthusiastic as he is.

The book is read by LeVar Burton, who does a wonderful job of bringing Sagan’s voice and love of his subject out. There is a forward by Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan, and an introduction by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

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