A Quick Note: I just now published a new feature for my blog, an additional link called “List of Authors,” which lists all of the authors reviewed on this site and all their books. This new page will make it easier for people to find more books by authors they enjoy. Look for it at the top of the page!
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Death by Black Hole is a collection of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s essays from Natural History magazine. In general, I’m not that fond of essay collections because just when I want an author to build on a point, the essay is over.
Tyson is always good, though, at explaining complex ideas in a way that a science novice like me can understand. He is also frequently amusing, funny enough for me to occasionally read passages out loud to my husband. Some of the pieces are probably written solely to provide amusement, like the one about the scientific errors in sci-fi movies. But he also includes essays about the creation of the universe, climate change, particle physics, cosmic curiosities, and the interface between science and the public.
If I can repeat a point, though, I think I would have appreciated even more a book that explained principles and then took me farther with them. Instead, by the nature of the beast, the essays are sometimes a bit repetitive, although none of them cover exactly the same ground.
I was really looking forward to the chapter on “intelligent design,” which is a sore point with me. But even though Tyson is clear that this is not a scientific viewpoint, his essay is a bit too tactful for my taste. At this point I would have appreciated some zingers.