The writer who so deftly spun science into gripping story in her previous best-sellers Longitude and Galileo’s Daughter here offers an incantatory serenade to the solar system in The Planets. Approaching her subject through the multiple portals of history, mythology, art, and popular culture, Dava Sobel explores both the physical strangeness of each of our ”siblings in space” as well as their emotional place in the human story. With a captivating mix of erudition and whimsy, she shows how the planets are repositories of meaning — not only for the ancient Mayans who worshipped (and offered blood sacrifices to) Venus, or the Renaissance thinkers who overturned an Earth-centered universe, but for anyone who has ever looked into the night sky and asked, ”Where did we come from?”

The Planets
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