(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.
These were the items that now surrounded his body as it lay in state: portraits of presidents and other men of fame and substance whom he had befriended; a marble statue of a winged boy holding aloft a light bulb; framed diplomas and prizes; and a grainy picture in black and white, a photograph from Wyoming Territory, taken on a July day in 1878 when the young inventor and a team of astronomers awaited the illuminating darkness.
They afford a chance not only to grasp the majesty and power of nsture, but to wonder at ourselves - who we are, and who we were were when the same shadow long ago touched this finite orb in the boundless void.
Scientists attend A total solar eclipse A competition (oregonobsessionz)
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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)