Carl Sagan: A Life

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Wiley, Sep 13, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 540 pages
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"Carl Sagan was one of the most celebrated scientists of his time - the leading visionary of the Space Age. He was also a highly controversial figure who inspired wildly opposed opinions. His enthusiasm and eloquence about the wonders of space, the marvels of the human brain, and the mysteries of life captured the imagination of millions. Yet one scientist was so enraged by Sagan's scientific pronouncements that he compared him to the Black Plague, and William F. Buckley, Jr. likened him to circus huckster P. T. Barnum."--BOOK JACKET. "Sagan's life was both an intellectual feast and an emotional roller coaster. Whether he was searching for life on Mars or visiting Timothy Leary in prison, prophesying exciting scientific discoveries or getting arrested for protesting nuclear weapons, debating the existence of UFOs or advocating the creative benefits of smoking marijuana, Carl Sagan was a fascinating, charismatic, and complex man full of contradictions."--BOOK JACKET. "His TV series Cosmos awed hundreds of millions around the world, and his bestseller The Dragons of Eden won the Pulitzer Prize. Yet the value of his scientific work was often called into question. His Ph.D. dissertation narrowly escaped rejection, he was denied tenure at Harvard, and in the twilight of his life, he was denied membership in the prestigious National Academy of Sciences."--BOOK JACKET. "In this insightful and evenhanded biography, science journalist Keay Davidson reveals for the first time the man behind the famous image - the storm of contradictions and passions that animated this enigmatic and entrancing man who remained, at heart, the five-year-old Brooklyn boy who looked up at the stars and asked: What arethey?"--BOOK JACKET.

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Another bio of the flamboyant astronomer and creator of Cosmos (see William Poundstone, p. 1391), from a veteran science writer (coauthor with George Smoot of Wrinkles in Time, 1993). Davidson credits ... Read full review

Carl Sagan: a life

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Both of these books portray astronomer Carl Sagan as a man of immense paradoxes. A charismatic public persona, he could be arrogant and demanding in his personal life. Fiercely amibitious, he still ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

KEAY DAVIDSON is the science writer for the San Francisco Examiner. He has won the two top awards in American science journalism: the American Association for the Advancement of Science-Westinghouse Prize and the National Association of Science Writers' Science in Society award. His articles have appeared in many magazines, including National Geographic, New Scientist, Sky & Telescope, and Mother Jones, and his books include the internationally acclaimed Wrinkles in Time (with George Smoot). He is a major contributor of biographical essays on scientists and scholars to Oxford University Press's multi-volume American National Biography.

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