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American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race…

American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the… (2017)

by David Baron

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12319139,458 (3.9)11
  1. 00
    The Hunt for Vulcan: . . . And How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe by Thomas Levenson (themulhern)
    themulhern: These books intersect, "The Hunt for Vulcan" covers the eclipse expedition, and "American Eclipse" includes the siting of Vulcan during the eclipse by James Craig Watson.

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Non fiction, early science, woman scientist. Good book. Timely with eclipse next month ( )
  shelbycassie | Aug 5, 2018 |
Interesting look at the 1878 solar eclipse and what it meant for three individuals, James Craig Watson, Maria Mitchell, and Thomas Edison. The book goes into the history of each person and why they want to view the solar eclipse. I was hoping to read more about what the solar eclipse was like for everyday people at this time in this book, but there was maybe a sentence or two about it. The book goes into a lot of detail about the three people's lives and can get pretty "sciencey" at times at an advance level that went over my head. ( )
  wellreadcatlady | Jul 9, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Absorbing audio book about the race among scientists to view the historical eclipse of 1878 as it crossed the Western United States. The struggles these scientists underwent to reach their goal were fascinating. It was exciting to hear about the women who, against all odds, made their own way to a suitable viewing area. All in all, an enjoyable listen. ( )
  vnesting | May 29, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The world was spellbound by the recent Eclipse and that made this book, “American Eclipse” timely. I both enjoyed and was sometimes disappointed by the presentation. Torn when listening to the audiobook between boredom and fascination. I was committed to continuing. The historical information on the area of eclipse study and science was well presented but the biographical and dialogue on Edison would have been better represented in a separate book. I must admit that I wanted to dislike and at times stop listening to the book, but then I would be drawn back in by a historical story or another interesting fact. I give this book a 4 rating. Thank you to LibraryThing for the complimentary copy to review. (Revised review) ( )
  WeeziesBooks | Feb 3, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book describes a single scientific quest, the study and observation of a mid 18th century total solar eclipse in the US. It discusses the context of the quest, the history and motivations of its participants, as well as the consequences of the outcome of the quest. Rather than a monolithic twelve volume history of everything, it addresses just the single incident and the author's interpretation. These books, written well, are accessible, and when set in the era of Indian Territory and the Great Exhibition have a steampunk appeal. There are quite a few such books, and together, the form a patchwork from which a reader can extract their own view of the broader picture. I do not think that this type of book would have been so successful without its ecosystem of similar books. This is a trend I happen to like, as I prefer to get my history from different voices, with perhaps a genuine interest in the particular subject matter that they have chosen.

The book itself is lively and only somewhat technical but generally well written and includes quotations from a number of original sources. There are some fun details, like Edison choosing to ride on the cow-catcher. The reading was not as good, there was the usual unfortunate "ye" for the word that should be pronounced like we now pronounce "the". The reader's accents were not as good as with others and the reading had a certain tone which, while it was appropriate for the quotations of the contemporary newspapers, was far too excitable for the actual narrative.

But the subject matter was interesting enough that I intend to read the book in physical form. ( )
  themulhern | Dec 27, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
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Eclipses suns imply. -Emily Dickinson
For my father
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(Preface) To be human, it seems, is to seek purpose in our transient lives.
(Prologue) Some would claim that the tragedy's fateful course had been set several months earlier, in the winter of 1878.
Eight days shy of America's hundredth birthday, tourists thronged to Philadelphia for the approaching Fourth of July festivities.
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Scientists attend 
A total solar eclipse  
A competition 

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In vibrant historical detail, American Eclipse animates the fierce jockeying that came to dominate late nineteenth-century American astronomy, revealing the challenges faced by three of the most determined eclipse chasers who participated in this adventure. James Craig Watson, in his day a renowned asteroid hunter; Vassar astronomer Maria Mitchell, who fought to demonstrate that science and higher learning were not anathema to femininity; and Thomas Edison, a young inventor and irrepressible showman. With vivid accounts of train robberies and Indian skirmishes, Baron's page-turning drama not only brings to life the mythologized age of the Wild West in a totally unexpected way but forever memorializes an historic eclipse that would come to symbolize American science in its ascendance. --… (more)

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