Sunday, 6 May 2007

Broca's Brain by Carl Sagan


I have now read most of Sagan's work and find them without exception to be informative, readable and usually awe inspiring. In fact his books probably have the highest review scores that I have given out so far.

This book is an eclectic mix. Both in terms of the type of material and the subject matter. For example we have a "scientific" paper debunking Velikovsky's famous claims of interstellar billiards alongside a potted history of American astronomy.

Clearly any kind of flow or overarching narrative is therefore bound to be lacking. Changes of pace are unavoidable and a thirst for a larger or more integrated work does grow on you.

Having said all this the individual pieces still show off Sagan's talent for careful logic and elegant argument coupled with an innate appreciation of the beauty of the universe and an eloquence in allowing the reader to appreciate this for themselves which very few science writers can match.

Not his best thanks to the nature of the book. If you are new to Sagan then either Cosmos or Demon Haunted World are the place to start.

3.5 out of 5

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