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Beginnings, the Story of Origins of Mankind,…
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Beginnings, the Story of Origins of Mankind, Life, (original 1987; edition 1987)

by Isaac Asimov

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234283,956 (4.48)3
Isaac Asimov authored over 400 books in a career that lasted nearly 50 years. As a leading scientific writer, historian, and futurist, he covered a variety of subjects ranging from mathematics to humor, and won numerous awards for his work.
Member:jamesgate
Title:Beginnings, the Story of Origins of Mankind, Life,
Authors:Isaac Asimov
Info:Walker & Company (1987), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Science

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Beginnings by Isaac Asimov (1987)

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Asimov works backwards in short chapters from a very recent beginning, human flight, to the beginning of the universe. Clear and direct and unusually funny. I like best Asimov's work that was originally organized around a coherent theme, much better than collections, even thematic ones, of his standalone essays. Given that he wrote so much, sticking with books that have coherent themes seems like the right idea.

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Detailed Review:

Introduction:

Asimov points out that the world is now able to agree on dates, so that's one less detail to manage.

1. Human Flight
Asimov points out that, although everyone thinks first of the Wright brothers' successful flight at Kitty Hawk, the actual facts are far more nuanced. What about gliders, dirigibles, balloons, etc. What about a dirigible that ran on steam so didn't really work?
  themulhern | Jan 12, 2019 |
Why Science Fiction?
Because like all truly excellent science fiction, everything here started out in somebody's imagination. After all, truly good science fiction in time becomes science fact.
This is basically a collection of short essays, so even those who have trouble with any kind of textbook (which is what, for all intents and purposes, this is) should be able to enjoy and learn. ( )
  dragonasbreath | Nov 23, 2011 |
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In writing a book about beginnings, I start with one enormous advantage. All the governments of the world agree on the manner of measuring time.

[I know, a bit long, but I wanted to include what the advantage was, since it's only the Foreword]
In a large city, such as New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, one can look up at any hour of the day or night and see one or more airplanes (or, at might, their lights) moving across the sky.
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Isaac Asimov authored over 400 books in a career that lasted nearly 50 years. As a leading scientific writer, historian, and futurist, he covered a variety of subjects ranging from mathematics to humor, and won numerous awards for his work.

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Book description
Here is a wondrous excursion through 15 billion years of human and prehuman history by America's most popular and exciting science writer, Isaac Asimov.
From the flashing birth of the Universe to planetary systems, from algae to reptiles, Asimov covers the infinite and the microscopic in rich detail.
Even if you've never known the difference between a proton and a neutron or a nebulae and a dwarf star, Beginnings makes it all abundantly clear - and absolutely fascinating,
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A remarkable accomplishment in true Asimovian style. With a detailed analysis of the question "what was the first human flight?", Beginnings wastes no time in challenging so-called 'fundamental' concepts. After Asimov thoroughly dismantles the readers conception of 'firsts', he moves backward through time explaining the firsts of everything from written language and human history to invertebrates and eukaryotic cells.

All through this adventure Asimov makes sure to insert highly relevant stories of scientific mishaps. At their heart, these tales represent universal human failings which the text tacitly believes should be understood and avoided.

A must read for anyone interested in a cogent outline of humanity's scientific understanding.
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