681 pages, Col & b/w illus
The Sun is so powerful, so much bigger than us, that it is a terrifying subject. Yet though we depend on it, we take it for granted. Amazingly the first book of its kind, Chasing the Sun is a cultural and scientific history of our relationship with the star that gives us life. Richard Cohen, applying the same mix of wide-ranging reference and intimate detail that won outstanding reviews for By the Sword, travels from the ancient Greek astronomers to modern-day solar scientists, from Stonehenge to Antarctica (site of the solar eclipse of 2003, when penguins were said to sing), Mexico's Aztecs to the Norwegian city of Tromso, where for two months of the year there is no Sun at all.
He introduces us to the crucial 'sunspot cycle' in modern economics, the religious dances of Indian tribesmen, the histories of sundials and calendars, the plight of migrating birds, the latest theories of global warming, and Galileo recording his discoveries in code, for fear of persecution. And throughout, there is the rich Sun literature - from the writings of Homer through Dante and Nietzsche to Keats, Shelley and beyond. Blindingly impressive and hugely readable, this is a tour de force of narrative non-fiction.
An amazing tour de force, a grand history, and an irresistable account of an around-the-world odyssey in search of an elusive moving target.--Sylvia Nasar, author of "A Beautiful Mind"
"A quite extraordinary book, which I absolutely loved. It's a fabulously provoking history of discoveries, dreams, and delusions. I shall bask in its shimmering digressions, crazy cross-references, and dizzy overviews for many moons."--Richard Holmes, author of "The Age of Wonder"
"Remarkably comprehensive and engrossing . . . Apollo, Ra, Inti or Huitzilopochtli--all would rock with delight at Cohen's sweeping endeavor."--"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)
"A firework of a book . . . sprinkled throughout with such glittery delights.""--The Wall Street Journal"
"On every single page there is something utterly fascinating."--Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials
"[Full of] playfulness and jam-packed lyricism.""--The Boston Globe"
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Richard Cohen is the author of By the Sword. He was previously publishing director of Hutchinson and Hodder & Stoughton and the founder of Richard Cohen Books. He has written for the New York Times, the Guardian, the Observer, the Daily Telegraph, and the New York Times Book Review and has appeared on BBC radio and television. In 2004 he was appointed Visiting Professor of creative writing at Kingston University and is the recipient of a Sloan Foundation grant for this book. He lives in New York City.