I just finished reading Death by Black Hole by Neil deGrasse Tyson and I give it 5-stars. It was outstanding! I rarely rate a book as 5-stars and it has to be truly remarkable for me to do so. The last book that I ranked as 5-stars was First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen, and I read that book back in early November 2005, some 15 months ago. So 5-star books are few and far between.
The book is a collection of science essays, mostly on astrophysics, taken from his “Universe” column in NATURAL HISTORY magazine. The essays themselves were fascinating, but what pushed them over the edge was their colloquial style, and the humor that Tyson brought to them. Among my favorite essays in the book: “Stick-in-the-Mud Science”, “Hollywood Nights”, and “Holy Wars”.
Anyone out there who enjoys popular science, especially cutting-edge discussions of the universe on macroscopic and microscopic scales, will enjoy this book.
The tough part about reading a 5-star book is that it is always very difficult to follow up. The next book I am reading is Isaac Asimov’s The Secret of the Universe, also a collection of science essays (and one which I have read once before, but that has never made it onto my reading list because I read it prior to 1996). I love Asimov’s science essays from F&SF and I have read them all. I figured this would be the one thing with which I could follow up another great book of science essays.