The Planets

  • by Dava Sobel
  • Narrated by Lorna Raver
  • 5 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

With her blockbuster New York Times best sellers Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Dava Sobel used her rare and luminous gift for weaving difficult scientific concepts into a compelling story to garner rave reviews and attract readers from across the literary spectrum. Now, in The Planets, Sobel brings her full talents to bear on what is perhaps her most ambitious subject to date: the planets of our solar system. The sun's family of planets become a familiar place in this personal account of the lives of other worlds. Sobel explores the planets' origins and oddities through the lens of popular culture, from astrology, mythology, and science fiction to art, music, poetry, biography, and history. Whether revealing what lies behind Venus' cocoon of acid clouds or capturing firsthand the excitement at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when pictures from Cassini at Saturn are beamed to Earth, this intimate account is filled with fascination, beauty, and surprise.
Written in Dava Sobel's characteristically graceful prose, The Planets is a distinctive view of our place in the universe. It is that rare book that will delight the experienced astronomer and, at the same time, engage someone eager to get to know the planets.


What the Critics Say

"This resonant and eclectic collection, informative, entertaining, and poetic, is a joy to read." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This book should be categorized as fiction

I was expecting a scientific book about the planets, instead I got a book whose author gives equal weight to the biblical account of the creation of the universe. If you are going to compare rigorous scientific theory with fantasy then don't label it as non-fiction.
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- Think B4 Eating

Superb story of our changing views of the planets

This book is a tour of the nine planets that is equal parts mythology, history, and science. Ms. Sobel goes through each planet in order, discussing how it is has been seen throughout history, and what the latest scientific discoveries and theories about its origins and future might be. The stories she tells about the planets range from personal tales to historical or mythological incidents, and they are often highly lyrical. Mars is described from the perspective of a martian meteorite found in the Antarctic, while the tale of the discovery of Uranus is given through the letters of the sister of its discoverer. If you are looking for a hardcore science volume, you may want to look elsewhere, for though scientific facts abound, so does history and fables. If you liked Dava Sobel's other works (Longitude, etc.) or appreciate slightly more quirky non-fiction, you will like this. Wonderfully read and highly reccommended.
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- Ethan "Audible listener since the late 1990s"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-29-2005
  • Publisher: Random House Audio