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1. Black Hole
2. The Black Hole War: My Battle
3. Homes and Other Black Holes
4. Black Hole Sun
5. Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's
6. Death by Black Hole: And Other
7. Flying from the Black Hole: The
8. Black Holes and Baby Universes
9. Black Holes: And Other Bizarre
10. A User's Guide to the Universe:
11. Mysterious Universe: Supernovae,
12. An Introduction To Black Holes,
13. Exploring Black Holes: Introduction
14. Gravity's Fatal Attraction: Black
15. Black Holes: An Introduction
16. Black Holes, Quasars and the Universe
17. Quasars, Pulsars, and Black Holes
18. Why Aren't Black Holes Black?
19. Black Holes
20. Escape From the Black Hole

1. Black Hole
by Charles Burns
Paperback: 368 Pages (2008-01-08)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$11.37
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375714723
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Winner of the Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz Awards

The setting: suburban Seattle, the mid-1970s.We learn from the outset that a strange plague has descended upon the area’s teenagers, transmitted by sexual contact.The disease is manifested in any number of ways — from the hideously grotesque to the subtle (and concealable) — but once you’ve got it, that’s it.There’s no turning back.

As we inhabit the heads of several key characters — some kids who have it, some who don’t, some who are about to get it — what unfolds isn’t the expected battle to fight the plague, or bring heightened awareness to it , or even to treat it.What we become witness to instead is a fascinating and eerie portrait of the nature of high school alienation itself — the savagery, the cruelty, the relentless anxiety and ennui, the longing for escape.

And then the murders start.

As hypnotically beautiful as it is horrifying, Black Hole transcends its genre by deftly exploring a specific American cultural moment in flux and the kids who are caught in it- back when it wasn’t exactly cool to be a hippie anymore, but Bowie was still just a little too weird.

To say nothing of sprouting horns and molting your skin…Amazon.com Review
The first issues of Charles Burns's comics series Black Hole began appearing in 1995, and long before it was completed a decade later, readers and fellow artists were speaking of it in tones of awe and comparing it to recent classics of the form like Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan and Daniel Clowes's Ghost World. Burns is the sort of meticulous, uncompromising artist whom other artists speak of with envy and reverence, and we asked Ware and Clowes to comment on their admiration for Black Hole:

"I think I probably learned the most about clarity, composition, and efficiency from looking at Charles's pages spread out on my drawing table than from anyone's; his was always at the level of lucidity of Nancy, but with this odd, metallic tinge to it that left you feeling very unsettled, especially if you were an aspiring cartoonist, because it was clear you'd never be half as good as he was. There's an almost metaphysical intensity to his pinprick-like inkline that catches you somewhere in the back of the throat, a paper-thin blade of a fine jeweler's saw tracing the outline of these thick, clay-like human figures that somehow seem to "move," but are also inevitably oddly frozen in eternal, awkward poses ... it's an unlikely combination of feelings, and it all adds up to something unmistakably his own.

"I must have been one of the first customers to arrive at the comic shop when I heard the first issue of Black Hole was out 10 years ago, and my excitement didn't change over the years as he completed it. I don't think I've ever read anything that better captures the details, feelings, anxieties, smells, and cringing horror of my own teenage years better than Black Hole, and I'm 15 years younger than Charles is. Black Hole is so redolently affecting one almost has to put the book down for air every once in a while. By the book's end, one ends up feeling so deeply for the main character it's all one can do not to turn the book over and start reading again." --Chris Ware

"Charles Burns is one of the greats of modern comics. His comics are beautiful on so many levels. Somehow he has managed to capture the essential electricity of comic-book pop-art iconography, dragging it from the clutches of Fine Art back to the service of his perfect, precise-but-elusive narratives in a way that is both universal in its instant appeal and deeply personal." --Dan Clowes

Questions for Charles Burns

Amazon.com: Cartoonists are about the only people today who are working like Dickens did: writing serials that appear piece-by-piece in public before the whole work is done. What's it like to work in public like that, and for as long as a project like this takes?
Charles Burns: There were a number of reasons for serializing Black Hole. First of all, I wanted to put out a traditional comic book-- I'd never really worked in that comic pamphlet format before and liked the idea of developing a long story in installments. There's something very satisfying to me about a comic book as an object and I enjoyed using that format to slowly build my story. Serializing the story also allowed me to focus on shorter, more manageable portions; if I had to face creating a 368-page book all in one big lump, I don't know if I’d have the perseverance and energy to pull it off.
Amazon.com: One thing that stuns me about this book is how consistent it is from start to finish. From the first frames to the last ones that you drew 10 years later, you held the same tone and style. It feels as though you had a complete vision for the book from the very beginning. Is that so? Or did things develop unexpectedly as you worked on it?
Burns: I guess there's a consistency in Black Hole because of the way I work. I write and draw very slowly, always carefully examining every little detail to make sure it all fits together the way I want it to. When I started the story, I had it all charted out as far as the basic structure goes, but what made working on it interesting was finding new ways of telling the story that hadn't occurred to me.
Amazon.com: Some of the very best of the recent graphic novels (I'm thinking of Ghost World and Blankets, along with Black Hole) have been about the lives of teenagers. Do you think there's something about the form that helps to tell those stories so well?
Burns: That's an interesting question, but I don't know the answer. Perhaps it has more to do with the authors--the kind of people who stay indoors for hours on end in total solitude working away on their heartfelt stories... maybe that kind of reflection lends itself to being able to capture the intensity of adolescence.
Amazon.com: In the time you've been working on Black Hole, graphic novels have leapt into the mainstream. (I think--I hope--we're finally seeing the last of those "They're not just for kids anymore!" reviews.) What did you imagine for this project when you started it? What's it been like to see your corner of the world enter the glare of the spotlight?
Burns: When I started Black Hole I really just wanted to tell a long, well-written story. The themes and ideas that run throughout the book had been turning around in my head for years and I wanted to finally get them all out--put them down on paper once and for all. I've published a few other books and while they sold reasonably well, they didn't set the publishing world on fire. I was pretty sure I'd have some kind of an audience for Black Hole, but that was never a motivating factor in writing the book. And my corner of the world is still pretty dark. I guess I'll be stepping into the spotlight for a little while when the book comes out, but I imagine I'll slip back into my dark little studio when it all settles down again so I can settle back into work.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (66)

3-0 out of 5 stars Cool art, but overall a disappointing story...
Like many of the other reviewers here, I too grew up in the Pacific Northwest so I can relate to the general vibe and situations of this moody, angst-filled comic. Burns has captured the mannerisms and dialogue of teenagers from my generation pefectly.

And of course the art is pretty hypnotic, as Burns employs a stark relief-printing illustration technique that makes each panel look like a little linocut. At times he does some amazing things with textures, patterns and stylized portrayals of nature and drug paraphernalia. He's a real master of his craft. However, as others have noted, the overall monotony of the characters and their expressions really started boring me after a while and I found myself asking how interesting it could have been to draw these same characters over and over again.

Aside from these things, Black Hole is a story that features many bizarre little bits about a mysterious STD that has infected a random group of high schoolers, the main plotline following an average suburban teenage girl as she has to deal with the loneliness of becoming an outcast from her infection. Because of the attention to detail it's all pretty fun to read but also very episodic. Beyond the bizarre incidents, the plot meanders quite a bit and one gets the feeling Burns doesn't really know what he wants to say with the material. One example would be the inclusion of an underdeveloped serial killer angle. The anticlimactic ending was a big letdown for me as well. Without the art, this story is really weak.

4-0 out of 5 stars Adolescence as purgatory
Having lived in Seattle for six years while I was in college, the haunts that the characters inhabit seem especially vivid to me.The author absolutely nails the feeling of the region which gives me goosebumps upon reading.The reader can feel the setting getting in to their bones, inhabiting their moods.It is not a stretch to imagine the outsiders (myself included at the time) who hung out at Ravenna park to be infected with some sort of disease.One of the beauties of this story is how the author expands on the troubles of adolescence.The alienation is cast more clearly when it is found out that many of the teenagers have diseases that turn their bodies in to disgusting writhing masses.Youthful sexual encounters are tainted when naked bodies expose the ugliness within.While not much more than a collection of scenes, this book captures the feeling of youth as well as any other author.Adolescence is a time when people feel awkward about who they are.Not yet intelligent enough or self-aware to be confident in who they are, they float in some sort of netherworld between a childish innocence and a purpose-driven adulthood.Some teenagers, often the popular ones, through ignorance innocently pretend to have their act together, to know what is going on.But they too can catch the disease of social awkwardness and self-doubt as the characters in the book catch a much more horrid disease.The outcasts who are infected with this awkward disease yearn to be normal.They construct collages of normal bodies in hopes of understanding their sexuality.The normal kids come upon these collages and are horrified for the window in to self-doubt that is opening to them.This is the feeling of adolescence.No other book I've read does as good a job of capturing this fascinating period.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good
Graphic novel, set in the '70s, with a group of teenagers and the very strange mutating-STD that develops. Primarily a character-driven piece, using the weird disease as both metaphor and the driving plot to character transformation. Also has a somewhat unnecessary horror mystery arc put within the larger narrative. The artwork is beautiful, very distinctively and evocatively drawn. I first saw this book in the gift shop for an art museum, and I can see why. The story is also reasonably effective, if not quite as breathtaking. The use of genre elements is poor (the bug pretty much has to be magical, no explanation for the origin is given and people seem remarkably unconcerned about a disease that causes a second mouth to grow on someone's neck). Still, it's effective for some very creepy moments and some solid character progression.

4-0 out of 5 stars Sucks You In, Kind Of Like A...
BLACK HOLE by Charles Burnes
Pantheon Books, 2005

I checked out BLACK HOLE along with a bunch of other books from the library yesterday as it has been recommended to me on more than one occasion. As I was flipping through these books at about nine o'clock last night, I picked it up with the intention of doing nothing other than reading the jacket blurbs and perhaps flipping through a few pages. Basically, the next thing I knew I was turning the final page of the book, closing it, and looking up at the clock somewhat bleary-eyed to see it was four o'clock in the morning. In short, this is one engrossing read; you know you've been really hypnotized by a tale when artwork that's as beautifully rendered as Burns' basically goes unnoticed because you've forgotten that you're reading a book.

BLACK HOLE is not a book for everyone, but I suspect that most people who like it at all will like it a great deal. Recommended, particularly to those who enjoy films like Blue Velvet (Special Edition) and River's Edge,to those who were young in the 70s, or both.

5-0 out of 5 stars black and white

If there is only one reason comic books exist, it is so that Black Hole could come into existence. This is one of the deepest and unique trips ever written, and the only possible venue for this story is the comic book format. Black Hole is frightening, nostalgic, nightmarish, beautiful, surreal, and chock-full of teenage insecurity. If any comic books become textbooks for future college literary classes, Black Hole will be at the top of the reading list.

writing: [10/10]
art: [10/10] ... Read more

2. The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
by Leonard Susskind
Paperback: 480 Pages (2009-07-22)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$9.24
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316016411
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
At the beginning of the 21st century, physics is being driven to very unfamiliar territory--the domain of the incredibly small and the incredibly heavy. The new world is a world in which both quantum mechanics and gravity are equally important. But mysteries remain. One of the biggest involved black holes. Famed physicist Stephen Hawking claimed that anything sucked in a black hole was lost forever. For three decades, Leonard Susskind and Hawking clashed over the answer to this problem. Finally, in 2004, Hawking conceded.

THE BLACK HOLE WAR will explain the mind-blowing science that finally won out, and the emergence of a new paradigm that argues the world--this catalog, your home, your breakfast, you--is actually a hologram projected from the edges of space.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (53)

4-0 out of 5 stars 3.5 to 4 star
This book is not quite what it seems. It is a book more about the conversations and histories of the "Black Hole War" than the science behind the black hole war.

The book can be divded into 2 halves. The first half is the bascis of physics (entropy, gravity, relativity...etc) which would probably be hard to digest without some prior knowledge in physics. Then the author shifts gear towards the "war," but spent way too much time dissecting and redissecting the same concepts ad nauseum, while digressing way too frequently to irrevalent side stories/interviews that seem to serve no purpose than to take up pages. With better organization and editing, this book could have easily been 1/3 of its current size without loosing vital information.

But my biggest disappoint in this book is, while it does offer a number of insights into the current state of physics, the way he introduces concepts are at best haphazard - he frequently and abruptly does leaps of logic between concepts, and often doesn't fully explain the very concepts he set out to explain. And some concepts he basically just states "so and so did some calculation and found out what I said before is really true!" This is great for him but thats not exactly why I bought this book.

In the end, in trying to be do too many things at the same time, what could have been an otherwise incredibly insightful book into cutting edge science failed to live up to its true potential.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Bet Not a Battle
Since I am not a physicist of any kind I don't feel entitled to render any technical opinion with regard to Leonard Susskind's latest, "The Black Hole War", and his historical recounting of his debate with Stephen Hawking over the loss of information when it passes into a black hole.I am also not a mathematician and am therefore unable to comment on the math that makes string theory, for instance, necessary to describe his side of the debate.I am, however, an engineer and practically speaking the idea that as an object approaches a frontier it can never pass that frontier because with each step it moves it only divides its distance to the frontier in half.Therefore the object will continue to get closer and closer into infinity and never make it to the frontier let alone pass into it.That has never made sense to me...the joke that an engineer can get close enough rings true.

Yet here we have a book that by my estimate is more accessible than Hawking's (A Brief History of Time), as well as Woit's counter argument to string theory (Not Even Wrong).Susskind delivers a well written account of most of the basic physics necessary to understand his problem, as well as a few others. He takes us through the years and many clues that were uncovered eventually leading Hawking to concede he was indeed wrong...apparently. The war, by the way, was waged over a twenty year period but the only evidence that there was a war seems to be in Susskind's mind.Hawking's concession comes at the end of the book, on page 445, if it's a concession.It seems Susskind spent the first 444 pages of the book teaching us physics so that we could understand when Hawking threw in the towel.I did not learn enough to understand this defeat.I did learn that the amount of money that it was worth to Hawking that he was right was exactly $1 U.S. dollar. That came in the form of a wager he made with another physicist, but his concession left me flat. This was a small bet, not a battle.

This is a good book definitely written by a man who loves his work and can express concepts to the lay person on the order of Carl Sagan.Black Holes are more understandable here then in anything I have read.String theory is also well treated.I recommend this book to the weekend physicist or perhaps grade school science teacher but I don't think it presents anything close an understanding of the material to produce an explanation or to actually engage in a debate on the topic.4-stars.

1-0 out of 5 stars All hat and no science
...or at least very little.

I admire scientists and they have every right to think highly of themselves individually and as a group.But Susskind's ego is so huge that it distorts the fabric of space-time around this book.And as the book contains constant distortions of its own, trying to make one's way through it while maintaining a reasonably correct version of the current state of knowledge re quantum theory, relativity theory, and particularly information theory and black hole theory, which Hawking remains the master of despite Susskind's vain crowing, is nearly impossible.

Susskind's big claim to fame:for about five minutes he was right and Hawking was wrong over an arcane detail concerning what might happen to information swallowed up by a black hole.Actually neither were quite right and Hawking has since restated the matter in what is now the currently (tentatively) accepted version.

The book's (and most of the reviews') most irritating distortion is to state in present tense a position briefly held by Hawking as if it were still his position ("According to Hawking...").

The warping of reality begins with the title."War.""My battle with Stephen Hawking."Hawking probably wouldn't remember Susskind's name if Susskind weren't such a indefatigable self-publicist.Hawking's name on the cover is what sells Susskind's book.Quantum mechanics is, was, and will be (until something better comes along, if ever) quite safe even in those infinite versions of our universe where Susskind didn't happen to have been born.

And quantum theory and general relativity still are not close to being resolved, and nothing Susskind has done has made them a Plank-length closer.Hawking's latest popularizer describes in simple and modest terms how M-theory may accomplish that in the future, though there is much to be done both experimentally and in theory.

Susskind probably doesn't have the math to do string theory, or else he would be doing something useful there (as the increasingly debilitated Hawking still manages) instead of still clinging, like a has-been, punch-drunk fighter, to his brief moment of (as he sees it) triumph over the master.

Plenty of excellent pop books on the current state of play.Pick the one with the most chapters on whatever most interests you.Avoid this self-glorifying embarrassment.

5-0 out of 5 stars An insightful introduction to modern physics
How could one expect a lay public to follow such an arcane debate? Yet the author opens the tale with himself and a colleague staring perplexed at a blackboard displaying the conundrum. He succeeds by presenting their perplexity as a mystery novel; one which I found hard to put down.

Two hundred pages later one has begun to appreciate their perplexity, and one has also learned an appreciation of some of the fundamental concepts of modern physics. The author does not just dictate facts, but offers insights. I found new approaches to introducing these concepts to my undergraduate students.

3-0 out of 5 stars I am still confused
Even though I put in about seven years as a mathematician forty seven years ago ending with fancy letters after my name, there was a point in this book where I could no longer understand of the author's explanations of string theory with thought experiments.The explanation of entropy as information is one of the best I have read for laypersons.I remember a class on information theory with David Blackwell at Berkeley in the early 60's and by god there was a formula for entropy in a signal but I never could translate that into the real physical world.Susskind's presentations and examples were very useful.

This book is a strange one.The problem of making common sense of an abstruse science expressed in complex mathematics both of which have left common sense far behind is fundamentally contradictory.Using thought experiments,calling on the authority of Einstein who used them brilliantly, to demonstrate ideas which are really embodied in the thought experiment----and then the author wavinghis hands and saying that he is skipping the details which really make or break the argument--- is great literary device for us poor untutored readers, but of course this begs the question.We are simply taking the author's word for it, even if someone who disagrees with him would use the same handwaving to assert a contrary position.This is a conundrum in writing about the contents of science, particularly math and physics, for lay persons.

So where is physics really at.It gets me.As far as I could tell not much of what the author was writing about has been tested out there.He says that there isn't a shred of experimental data on the entropy, temperature, Hawking radiation, black hole complementarily, holographic principle relating to black holes.So who cares.And somewhere else I think he says that string theory is essentially untestable.Well certainly I can't make sense of string theory even as the author presents it.Relativity, quantum theory, nuclear physics ring a bell but is string theory just an intellectual game because physicists need the Newtonian project of a theory of how the universe runs, even if the theory is untestable. It is akin to Milton Friedman's ringing endorsement of modern portfolio theory whose assumptions are unrealistic and whose use by financial wizards have almost led us into a depression. It doesn't really matter about what went into the theory if it works, i.e. can generate the historical record.

I like what Susskind has to say about the relation between our common sense of the world and physics' explanations of how it works.In 1905 Einstein disabused us of simultaneity, then quantum theory of determinism. We humans make sense of thing in a time, gravity and space that are a very small proportion of the times and spaces in which most of the universe operate. So no wonder we can't conceive of how things work even though we might be able to create a mathematics and experimental realm to actually manipulate some of the things happening which contradict our common sense.And the theoretical discussion of black holes disables our common sense even more.Events in and out of the horizons of black hole are really different events depending on where you stand. Things that should be happening inside the black hole are only seen to occur on its horizon and the horizon itself is weird.My new age friends want all this to be evidence to support pseudo-Hindu or Buddhist ideas about the nature of reality.And there are many physicists bored with their physics who make a living off of feeding this illusion.Some fifteen or so years ago I sent a bright young student of mine who was interested in the Tao of physics to chat with physics professors in the university about the subject.He came back shaken at how dismissive they were.Now part of this was simply hostility to anything woo woo, but part of it was a recognition of how off base the popular discussions were from what the physics really addressed.

A couple of other comments about the book.I know I haven't really addressed the core of the author's assertions, but I don't think I am competent to.But where I am is his use of Thomas Kuhn's ideas of scientific revolution.Although Kun hardly emphasized it, he was deeply influenced by 1920s and 1930s sociological phenomenology. Yes Scientific Revolutions ended with ideas that were strictly incommensurable with the accepted theory which came before.Einstein's space and time were not Newton's and quantum's notions contradicted Einstein's.First revolutionary formulations help explain experimental anomalies in the old order, then new confirmations: maybe indeterminism doesn't make sense, but it sure works.Then comes normal science, what sociologists used to call bench science. Assumptions are not questioned and useful results ground out.You don't get Nobel prizes for it but it sure changes how we are able to manipulate the world.Black hole physics may involve a change of paradigms a la Kuhn, but it is not normal science because it doesn't manipulate the world, i.e. it isn't experimental.And physics which isn't experimental, might as well be math, or philosophy.And when it comes to explaining the history of these subject matters, Kuhn's model is highly suspect.My first question to him in 1966 was, "What does pre-paradigmatic mathematics look like?"He couldn't answer then and I still can't now.Although sociologists and psychologists love to claim paradigms and embrace Kuhn's model to try to hitchhike on the authority of Science, they can't do Kuhn's normal science.I wonder about physicists who can't either.Maybe the Hadron Accelerator will suck us into a black hole.I don't understand enough physics even to be able to think about the possibility.If so, then the theories of black holes become real physics.Anyway, the first part of Susskind's book is a good read. I fell down 2/3rds of the way through.

Charlie Fisherauthor ofDismantling Discontent: Buddha's Way Through Darwin's World ... Read more

3. Homes and Other Black Holes
by Dave Barry
Mass Market Paperback: 208 Pages (1995-05-01)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$3.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0345394402
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
"Mr. Barry is the funniest man in America and we should encourage him."
--The New York Times Book Review
At long last, Dave Barry, the dean of everything, lets you in on the deepest, darkest mysteries of life and answers your hysterical home purchase questions like they've never been answered before:
What's the best way to determine a realistic price range?
Take your total family income, including coins that have fallen behind the bureau, and any projected future revenue you have been notified about via personalized letters from Mr. Ed McMahon stating that you may already have won 14 million dollars. Then, multiply by something other than six.
Can you recommend a good mortgage?
There are several kinds: Fixed Rate, Variable Rate, and the bank's secret weapons, the Party Hat Mortgage and the Mortgage of the Living Dead.
How can I avoid spending money on do-it-yourself homeowner's projects?
Find a contractor. Their silent motto is "We Never Show Up." The Romans lived among the ruins. You must too.
Is there a secret to having a beautiful lawn?
Yes and no. If you fail to feed, fertilize, and water your lawn, it will die. However, if you feed, fertilize, and water your lawn, it will die.
Amazon.com Review
So much classic humor comes from anxiety--think of all thebefuddled "little men," from JamesThurber to Bud Abbott to WoodyAllen.One of the most breakdown-inspiring activities in modernlife is buying a house, and Dave Barry is a battle-scarred vet of thewhole real estate experience. This book is his therapy.

There's nobody better than Barry to mine this territory, and everypage of Dave Barry's Homes and Other Black Holes yields upnuggets of the good stuff. Here are a few words from somebody who hasbeen there, done that: "Most experts recommend that, for maximumeffectiveness, you should look at forty-five or even fifty houses perday. Experienced home shoppers often reach the point where they canleap out of the real estate broker's car, look at a house, and getback into the car before it reaches a complete stop."

The book also discusses the myriad details of settling into your newlife, including a section on making new enemies, dealing withcontractors, and redecorating. "The main tip you will pick up is thatif you want your house to look really nice, you do not necessarilyhave to have professional training or even a 'flair' for design; allyou need is to have more money than the human mind can comprehend."

As always, Barry is assisted throughout by the illustrations of Jeff (Shoe)MacNelly, making Dave Barry's Homes and Other Black Holes a veryfunny book and excellent housewarming gift. --Michael Gerber ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars uproariously funny
This is one of the funniest Dave Barry books that I've ever read, and I've read most of them.The experiences of looking for, purchasing, outfitting, and maintaining a home are described in accurate and hilarious detail.If you want a book to lift your spirits, this one will do very well.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Important Read Before You Make Life's Big Decisions
A year or so ago I read one of Barry's fiction novels called Big Trouble which was pretty entertaining so when I came across this non fiction book as well as Dave Barry's Bad Habits I decided to check them out.Of the two non fiction books Homes and Other Black Holes is certainly the more entertaining of the two with Barry giving more tongue in cheek advice based on exaggerations of the real world.In Bad Habits he was prone to telling more of his life stories than dishing out advice which to be honest they weren't that interesting, so this much thinner book with most of the life stories filtered out is much more pleasurable a read and is also a lot less dated too.

In Homes and Other Black Holes Barry comments on and gives advice on all of life's big decisions such as purchasing and selling homes, having kids, having pets, security alarms, gardening and buying furniture.Definitely an interesting and entertaining read. Check out his fiction as well.

4-0 out of 5 stars The funny side of home ownership
Its probably a good thing I wasn't drinking anything as I read this book, because I would have frequently sprayed the pages with my beverage if I had! Dave Barry takes aim at the trials and tribulations of home ownership, and hits the mark as accurately as he does any of his targets. This is funny stuff, best appreciated by those of us who have actually been there and done that. I had to read a number of passages to my wife, but her favorite was the bit about finding a pediatric group after moving. There is one piece of advice in here that I might actually follow when we finally are ready to move again: "Set fire to your household goods...and just walk away."

5-0 out of 5 stars How to make yourself miserable in your spare time
If you have ever moved, chances are that you never want to do it again. And Dave Barry is quite willing to remind you why moving is such a hideous experience, and why if you ever get the urge to do it again, you should lock yourself in a broom closet until your fit of insanity passes.

Among other things, Dave explains why your furniture takes so long to arrive (it involves primitive harvesters in the jungle) and why you will hate it when it arrives; what is and is not a good neighborhood ("I [heart] my Pit Bull" is bad); the horrifying thing called a mortgage; home repair and why you should not do it yourself; making enemies with your neighbors and their big savage dogs; garage sales; moving stuff out of your old house ("Tropical fish should be individually wadded up in newspaper") and into your new house ("... which will give your possessions an opportunity to scurry, giggling, back out to the truck so that you may carry them inside again").

Basically, if the idea of moving doesn't scare you before you read the book, it definitely will afterwards. Dave explains in horribly, humorously accurate descriptions, just what will happen when you try to move from one house to another. His viewpoint is only warped by the bizarre mindset of one who has tried to move and is still scarred by the experience.

So if you ever look around your house and think that you need more space, or a chance of scenery, have the doctor prescribe you something. But only after you've read this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great before owning a house, a riot after...
Look, how can you not love Dave Barry. The man is one of the touchstones of the '80s and '90s, standing among such comedic giants as PJ O'Rourke and holding his own.

This book cracked me up when I first read it as a non-homeowner, and cracked me up even more after I'd bought a house. While Dave has slown down slightly with success, this and his other early books (Babies and other Hazards of Sex, and Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex) are still uproarious.

Look, you need something to read on the john. This should be in the can at the Library of Congress. ... Read more

4. Black Hole Sun
by David Macinnis Gill
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2010-09-01)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061673048
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Durango is playing the cards he was dealt. And it’s not a good hand.

He’s lost his family.

He’s lost his crew.

And he’s got the scars to prove it.

You don’t want to mess with Durango.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fast-Paced Adventure
Durango is an 8-year-old (16 in Earth years) living on Mars and working as a mercenary. His latest mission is to protect a group of miners from a group of cannibals called the Dræu. With help from Mimi (his former chief and the artificial intelligence that resides in his brain), Vienne his subordinate, and a ragtag team of other mercenaries, the group faces a deadly enemy. But the miners are hiding a secret and the real reason the Dræu have been attacking.

Durango acts older than his age, having been thrust into authority and orphaned as a child. The dialog between Durango and Mimi is cleverly written and always entertaining. Gill's setting on Mars is unique and inspired. Human colonists from Earth have settled on the harsh planet, making it their own. But it seems Mars has its own native life as well.

This fast-paced science fiction romp for teens is just as enjoyable for adults. It's an action-packed adventure with plenty of suspense and chills. I was thoroughly impressed with the surprising twists to the story that left me wanting more. With young adult fantasy so popular right now, it was refreshing to read such a solid science fiction novel geared towards teens. An engaging story with fantastic characters on a desolate planet - it doesn't get much better than this.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best I've read in years!
I checked this out at my local library yesterday when I saw the words 'teen mercenary', 'Mars', and 'AI implant' on the back cover.Not since being a kid under the covers reading the Chronicles of Narnia has a book kept my ADD dyslexic self so utterly absorbed.I read it in a few hours! The dialoque is snappy.The pacing is good.The writing style is very modern, and uses only as many words as necessary.The plot is tight.The tension is high.Both teens and adults will enjoy this story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mercenaries on Mars
Here's another book I bought just because I liked the author's last book so much. That previous book would be Soul Enchilada, whose occasional plot glitches were completely overcome by Gill's mad writing skills and his even madder characters and YA voice.

The new book takes place on a future Mars, where governments have risen and fallen, leaving behind the shreds of civilization, including our guy Durango. This kid's backstory alone is more interesting that half the books out there, and believe me, it's not dumped on readers--you have to fit the pieces together as you go along.

There's a pop culture feel, let alone a wish-fulfillment feel, to this book in some ways: Durango is ex-military and has an Artificial Intelligence implanted in his head to help him out. He is also a good-looking guy and chicks love him. But Gill doesn't get carried away with Durango's appeal. It ends up merging into the plot and even being the source of some humor when Durango, like most teenage boys, doesn't read the signals he gets from the opposite sex very well. As for the AI and the military training, that ends up being part of this kid's painful backstory.

Gill's Mars is a brutal place, where food is scarce and Durango takes jobs for his little team of mercenaries that are all too likely to get them killed--and don't pay well, either. The new gig requires Durango and his buddies to defend a group of miners in a formally abandoned mine in the southern polar region from a group of mutant cannibals. (This feels more realistic than it sounds, trust me!)

Black Hole Sun is written in a kind of insider's shorthand, which gives it a strong sense of immediacy but does require the reader to work a little to get in sync. The effort pays off when you wind up feeling like you really are crawling along mine shafts, waiting to get your throat ripped out by the Draeu. Yes, there are hand grenades, also alien slime. But there are quieter interactions, as well, like the moments when Durango is trying to keep his cool around his lieutenant, a girl he figures he shouldn't have feelings for because he needs to be a professional and a leader. We even get some humor, most often in the form of banter between Durango and his AI, Mimi.

Gill doesn't just write terse action, he builds complex characters. The members of Durango's team are a rag-tag lot, especially self-styled swashbuckler Fuse and his large, touchy, not-so-bright sidekick, Jenkins. Then there's the rich old client who wants her kidnapped daughter rescued, but not her kidnapped son. She wants a lot more than that, as it turns out. Or we meet the vicious leader of the Draeu and discover her unexpected connections to Durango's past. The miners, too, are keeping secrets, and the story ends with an ethical cliffhanger which, even so, is still a side note compared to Durango's personal journey. At least for now. (Sequel, please!)

There's been some talk about the lack of sci-fi in kidlit lately, and a recent crop of books has appeared to fill the void. But this one is the most purely hardcore yet, merging dystopia with aliens and a hopeful-yet-hopeless hero's journey. An unabashedly boy book, Black Hole Sun reeks of dirt, bravado, ice, blood, treachery, and near misses. Gill's tale of an abandoned Mars colony of the future is noir disguised as action-adventure. Durango makes a fitting hero for our new millenium, which, quite frankly, is jam-packed with an uneasy mix of optimism and despair. A lot like this book.

Note for Worried Parents: This one is definitely for teens, probably 14 and up unless you have a serious sci-fi fan who's a year or two younger. The violence is pretty intense, though it moves at a fast clip--I did mention cannibalism, right? A few sideways references to sex, nothing major. Mature themes overall in that Black Hole Sun is quite bleak.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent sci-fi
Black Hole Sun is classic shoot em up sci fi at it's best!You get an evil queen, cannibalistic bad guys, oppressed masses, corrupt politicians, and a crew of misfits and left behinds to ride in and save the day. Plunk all that down on the planet Mars, mix it up with some very interesting science and you have a great story thatwill keep you turning the pages long into the night.It took me about the first 100 pages or so to get comfortable with the setting, the characters and the back-story.That might seem like a long time, but the author does an expert job of presenting all the information in a way that keeps the reader engaged.The dialogue is excellent, the pacing is perfect and the ending is non-stop action.

The characters here are well developed and engaging.Durango is quite the hero.He struggles with moral dilemmas, knows his own fallibility and still manages to be one tough dude.Vienne is excellent as his second, and the supporting characters of miners and bad guys are all memorable.I truly hope this becomes a series.Durango and Vienne make quite a duo and I am eager to learn what kind of trouble they get into next and also where their relationship might be headed. This is a solid recommend for teens grade 8 and up.There's quite a bit of violence and death.Fans of the Hunger Games will find much to like here, although this one is a bit more hard core sci-fi.Very well written.

5-0 out of 5 stars more, please
wow. what a crazy ride gill takes us
on with Black Hole Sun. the action is
adrenalin-rush non-stop, the dialogue
is laugh out loud funny, and durango
is one hot yet sensitive hero. i hope
there's a sequel!! would love to continue
on with durango's adventures on mars! ... Read more

5. Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy (Commonwealth Fund Book Program)
by Kip S. Thorne
Paperback: 624 Pages (1995-01-17)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$7.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393312763
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In this masterfully written and brilliantly informed work, Dr. Thorne, the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at Caltech, leads readers through an elegant, always human, tapestry of interlocking themes, answering the great question: what principles control our universe and why do physicists think they know what they know? Features an introduction by Stephen Hawking. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (92)

5-0 out of 5 stars Enjoy the ride
This is a great book written for the lay person.It is a great tale that spans over two centuries.As soon as Newton developed his theory on gravity, the seed of the concept of black hole was sown.The story got really exciting during the second half of the last century and the author was part of this exhilararting story.It spans continents, breaches political barrier, and challenges human imagination.

Towards the end of the book, I find it quite moving when it talks about Penrose's cosmic censorship and Hawking's "Chronology Protection".I find these moving because I believe these touches something deep and profound; and yet the author manages to explain these in a most informal and easy to understand way.

5-0 out of 5 stars books this ambitious are a rare treat
What sealed the deal for me on this book was that it was written by a famous name in general relativity. His name shows up everywhere in books along these lines. One imagines that persons like that, perhaps, are not inclined to BS their explanations, so you can sort out the nonsense that might appear in breezy science books and articles. Obviously this is not always the case. Scientists, being people too, will take the opportunity of their book to hype their personal agenda on subjects extraneous to their expertise.

Let's be frank. Steven Hawkings books are basically vague, almost giving you an idea of what he is talking about, but not quite. You get some kind of amazed feeling. That feeling, with the man's impeding disability, is what made the Hawking phenomenon what it was. This Kip Thorne book is a masterpiece in what it attempts and succeeds at. Steven Hawking is a punk.

Kip Thorne only gets into one or two personal agendas that I noticed, and he is so up-front and brief about it that it easy to handle.

For some reason, the sponsors of this book let him do it the way he wanted, and include all the detail he thought was warranted, and let him take all the time he cared to take doing it. He must have had a fabulous editor. Either that or he is one of the most accomplished expositors that has every lived.

The careful, extended explanations of special and general relativity start off the book rather slowly if you have seen these before. Actually Kip Thorne includes more than usual in his explanation of general relativity. They just serve to give you a solid perspective before going into what has happened since Einstein kicked physics in the rear. Kip Thorne emphasizes that Einstein himself was totally against physically cut-off regions (black holes) and singularities actually existing, despite their mathematical inevitability from the very equations he originated. (Not that surprisingly if you know something of Einstein's single-minded belief in extending "normal" physics, not discarding it.)

There is possibly as much material that is not physics, but about the people and their political environment, in this book than physics. That material is if anything more interesting than the physics. I don't think a shorter book without that material would be good. Pedagogically, the hard science parts strain the brain, and the personality material serves to let the brain recharge. This happens to make it a better science presentation too. If Kip Thorne wanted to expand this material, and leave out the physics, I'd buy that book too, it is so perceptive.

I am giving the book a 5 not because I love it, but because this is one of the most valuable books, by my own personal values, that I have ever encountered. Large portions of the book were a strain; hard work to focus my brain on to the degree necessary to understand. That's why I say I did not love it, in the sense that one might love a thriller adventure. In that sense though it was maybe a 4.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Incomparable Voyage Through Space
This book, written by the great cosmologist Professor Kip Thorne, leads us through some of the wonders and paradoxes of the universe.

If you want to escape from your world, you can do no better than join him. He takes us step by step through the various discoveries that have led to this understanding of the universe in which we have evolved, in our own little corner, on this little planet.

Reading is like living in a movie, so brilliantly and with such passion, does he describe this epic search for truth.

The factual information he gives about the universe and reality itself as we proceed, provides an incomparable tableau of our surroundings and universal history.

If you are interested in what lies beyond the horizon of Earth, this book is a must!

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written, Carefully Researched and Articulated
In the same vein as Stephen Hawkins' "A Brief History of Time," (and with even more care) here Professor Kip Thorne takes us on an eventful behind the scenes ride through the arcane theories composing the post-Einstein revolution, and inside the minds of its key revolutionaries. Clearly, the afterglow of Einstein's theories is just beginning to be fully felt and appreciated.

Concepts such as black holes, wormholes, singularities, and time machines, ideas some of which Einstein himself had difficulty embracing, and which were once thought to be the province only of science fiction, here are carefully explained in non-mathematical terms and shown to be fully a part of the emerging implications of Einstein's deep and profound theories.

In short, this book tells superbly the story of Einstein's revolution and how its effects have changed our view of space and time, and the remarkable consequences of these effects and changes, most of which are still being unraveled. This is an altogether fascinating account, written by the Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics at California Institute of Technology, someone closely involved with the ensuing post-Einsteinian developments. Professor Thorne keeps us spell-bound as he tells the story in simple non-technical language of the struggles and eventual success in our search for a clearer understanding of what are possibly the most mysterious and difficult objects and concepts in the Universe.

Few books have been as successful in reducing the deeply complex concepts of advance Physics to commonplace understanding as Professor Thorne has done here.My hat is off to him for a fine effort, which even fifteen years later is still fresh: Touché, and five stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars A deeply human and riveting account of how physics predicted and described one of the universe's deepest secrets.
I thought I was pretty much done with the theory of black holes.I have read dozens of articles and books on the subject - so I wasn't expecting much extra from Kip Thorne's "Black Holes & Time Warps".But this book blew me away with its deep theoretical detail; human insight; and rich historical content.Thorne doesn't just want to tell you about the weird mindblowing theories of what black holes are (although he does a fabulous job of doing that); he wants to tell you the full evolution of thought on the subject.It's a killer detective story full of fascinating characters with egos clashing and conjectures crashing up against the shoals of theory - and ultimately a deeply, almost religiously mysterious emerging fusion Einstein's field theory and Quantum mechanics called Quantum Gravity.

Kip Thorne is an experienced educator (and a parent) as well as a master of theory of relativity of the highest order.He is also fluent in Russian and has functioned as a liaison between Soviet physicists and the West for decades.He has worked personally with the giants in the field through the golden age of black hole research.His experience as an educator and deep experience and insight into the theories allows him to ably sketch them out for the layman.His depth of personal experience with the physicists who have led the assault allows him to populate the narrative with real flesh and blood people who struggle with ultimate truths in a human and deeply comprehensible way.Personal touches abound, such as facsimiles of signed bets between Thorne and Stephen Hawking, that convey the spirit and playfulness that goes on.He gives wonderful accounts of the process of physics work, describing the isolation, the moments of "eureka" where long considered problems emerge from the subconscious miraculously solved.This insight into inspiration is powerful stuff and you get it again and again from Einstein's central paradigm shift that shattered the Newtonian view of absolute space and time to Chandrasekhar's ship-board calculations that revealed the limit to the size of white dwarfs - and implied the inevitability of black holes to his mentor's dismay, through Hawking's bedtime realization about black hole growth and evaporation and much more.Thorne puts you there and really lets you feel it.These thrills and chills combine the exultation of someone cracking a hard puzzle with the child-like wonder of standing small beside the ocean or the vast dome of stars.

The physics in this book aren't lightweight.Thorne spares you the deep math (a taste of it is found in the footnotes), but the diagrams and concepts require some concentration.He presents these concepts with lucidity and tons of graphic visual aids.It's hard for me to gauge the accessibility of the science here since I've covered this ground before, but my sense is, anyone who has got through high-school physics can handle it.

The story doesn't end with the theory.Thorne takes us through the discovery of pulsars and x-ray and radio sources that provide physical evidence of black holes."Black Holes & Time Warps" was published in 1993, so it's a bit dated.There's no mention of quark stars (a bit of quantum mechanical refinement to the notion of neutron stars).The hardest part to take was Kip Thorne's chapter on LIGO - the huge multinational attempt to detect gravitational waves.Thorne really gave birth to the LIGO project and in "Black Holes & Time Warps" he allows himself in the last two pages of the LIGO chapter to lovingly describe a potential scenario where in 2007 an observation of black hole coalescence is made.It's heartbreaking given that as of 2009 LIGO still hasn't make any confirmed observations of gravitational waves after almost 2 decades.I have little doubt that Thorne's beautiful vision will eventually come to pass, but the long desert and struggle conveyed by his underestimation of the time is certainly a sad moment.

There's so much in here that transcends the physics - particularly in the depiction of the cold war, the impact of the nuclear bomb effort on the science of physics and astrophysics, and the horrible toll that Stalin's purges took on the people at the forefront of Soviet scientific research.All in all, this is one of the best works of science popularization and history of science I have ever read.Highest recommendation. ... Read more

6. Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries
by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Paperback: 384 Pages (2007-11-17)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393330168
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A vibrant collection of essays on the cosmos from the nation's best-known astrophysicist. “One of today’s best popularizers of science.”—KirkusReviews.Loyal readers of the monthly "Universe" essays in Natural History magazine have long recognized Neil deGrasse Tyson's talent for guiding them through the mysteries of the cosmos with stunning clarity and almost childlike enthusiasm. Here, Tyson compiles his favorite essays across a myriad of cosmic topics. The title essay introduces readers to the physics of black holes by explaining the gory details of what would happen to your body if you fell into one. "Holy Wars" examines the needless friction between science and religion in the context of historical conflicts. "The Search for Life in the Universe" explores astral life from the frontiers of astrobiology. And "Hollywood Nights" assails the movie industry's feeble efforts to get its night skies right.

Known for his ability to blend content, accessibility, and humor, Tyson is a natural teacher who simplifies some of the most complex concepts in astrophysics while simultaneously sharing his infectious excitement about our universe. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (87)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fun Book
This is not written for the advanced students in physics, but I found it fun.This is a five star book for those who have no real education in astronomy and physics.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bravo
My review refers to a hard back copy from my local library.Bravo Dr. Tyson.Death by Black Hole reminded me of the no nonsense science books that Isaac Asimov used to write, and that I loved, when I was young.I recommend this book to anybody that loves to read science and especially to young people.This book is basic Astronomy, but Dr. Tyson supplies the supporting science along with the Astronomical concepts he is teaching.Additionally, he supplies a lot of the history that lead to our knowledge.The result is a wide ranging comprehensive romp through many areas of scientific knowledge. We need more books of this sort.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Most Informative Book I've Ever Read
Neil Degrass Tyson captivated me with Death By Black Hole on the first sentence.It aught me more about spce than I would have ever learned in other books!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent collection of essays
If you want basic information on the physics of the universe, there is no better book for a non-scientist to read. From building of an atom, to the creation of a supernova. Dr deGrasse Tyson writes with humor, and an style that makes post-doctorate ideas simple to understand (well, except for string theory). If you have seen Neil on any television program, his part scientist, part educator, easy speaking essays flow from the pages. You probably won't realize you learned anything new, until days later during a conversation you say to yourself "Wow, where did THAT come from?".

3-0 out of 5 stars wonderful book. poor presentation
i own this in hardcover and the kindle edition is obviously a poorly done scan directly from the print edition. All the initial caps are missing and the typeface is thin and difficult to read. Not satisfactory. ... Read more

7. Flying from the Black Hole: The B-52 Navigator-bombardiers of Vietnam
by Robert O. Harder
Hardcover: 336 Pages (2009-05-04)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$20.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591143594
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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U.S. Air Force navigators and bombardiers have long labored under the shadow of pilots, their contributions misunderstood or simply unknown to the public. This was especially the case with the B-52 non-pilot aircrews in the Vietnam War. Yet, without them, it would have been impossible to execute nuclear war strike plans or fly conventional bombing sorties. With this book, one of their own reveals who these men were and what they did down in the Black Hole of the B-52 bomber. It is the only work to detail the B-52 air war in Vietnam from the perspective of a navigator-bombardier. The book's opening thrusts the reader into the thick of the war's climactic 1972 Hanoi Christmas bombing, an operation so poorly planned that it nearly became a disaster of epic proportions. The author then offers a history of the development of bombing techniques and the evolution of bomber aircraft, focusing on the Vietnam-era B-52. Final chapters return readers to the eleven-day Christmas War over Hanoi and Haiphong for an insider's view of that defining battle, described by the author as the last massed, heavy bomber raid the world will ever see. The author brings the book to a close with a discussion of the B-52 and its capabilities in the twenty-first century. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Should Be A Movie!
Should be a movie! Heroism, courage, persistence, struggle against the odds, victory, triumph, and a 180 degree change in battle plans. Everything is here.

For those who read the newspapers during the 1970s, it turns out that contrary to the news reports at the time, that we, ie our air forces/naval forces, actually won over those 11 days of Christmas, a substantial victory. This air campaign faced far greater odds than any previous air battle in history.

I look forward to seeing a movie soon: "B-52"

5-0 out of 5 stars A++++ book!!!
This author has done a great job on giving you detailed information on flying Arc Light missions over Vietnam in a B52D. A real page turner!! If you want a great insight on the missions,crew,aircraft,tatics,SAC,and evervy day life, this is a must read!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Pat McNeill
I just completed reading this book (FLYING FROM THE BLACK HOLE)which was purchased via amazon.com. It is an excellent book which very accurately describes the B-52 crewmembers activities and missions of that timeframe. I am an ex-B52 Radar Navigator/Navigator who went through navigator training and was a SAC crewmember during the timeframe this book. I highly recommend this well written book to anyone interested in military aviation history.

Pat McNeill

5-0 out of 5 stars An insight by one of the Mission Planners
Having been the team leader for the Mission Planners on day one of Linebacker II, I found the details of the missions and the mistakes made by SAC and 8th Air Force described accurately. What we old Navigators, making up the mission packets, saw at first hand troubled us greatly. The first three nights were the WWII Ploesti and Schwienfurt missions repeated. One of my comrades who was a wave leader on night 3 actually changed the axis of attack to avoid what he saw happening in front of him. An excellent and well researched book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent First Person War Story From SAC's Glory Days
The author and I share some background; University of Minnesota, AFROTC and time in SAC and SEA, which made this book more interesting to me.Mr. Harder's detailed memories of USAF and SAC training and B-52 operations are fascinating.His stories of the bombing missions over Vietnam are chilling, horrifying and funny all at the same time.I am thankful he has documented an important aspect of the Vietnam war.I am glad I got to share his experiences.I highly recommend this book for both old soldiers (airmen) and others with an interest in military aviation. ... Read more

8. Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
by Stephen W. Hawking
Paperback: 192 Pages (1994-09-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553374117
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Readers worldwide have come to know the work ofStephen Hawking through his phenomenal million-copyhardcover best-seller A Brief History of Time. Bantam is proud to present thepaperback edition of Dr. Hawking's first new booksince that event, a collection of fascinating andilluminating essays, and a remarkable interviewbroadcast by the BBC on Christmas Day, 1992. Thesefourteen pieces reveal Hawking variously as thescientist, the man, the concerned world citizen,and-always-the rigorous and imaginative thinker.Hawking's wit, directness of style, and absence of pompcharacterize all of them, whether he isremembering his first experience at nursery school; callingfor adequate education in science that will enablethe public to play its part in making informeddecisions on matters such as nuclear disarmament;exploring the origins of the future of the universe;or reflecting on the history of A BriefHistory of Time. Black Holes and Baby Universes is an important work fromone of the greatest minds of the twentiethcentury. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (46)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Brief History of Stephen Hawking Would Have Been Better
"Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays" is a collection of 13 essays by Stephen Hawking and a manuscript of an interview. First off, I would say that it is definitely worth the price. However, somethings should be made clear about the work:

If you have read "A Brief History of Time" you may find some of the material of the scientific essays to be a bit redundant. Redundancy seems to be present even in the essays themselves (usually involving definitions). This is not a major issue at all, but it is a bit of an annoyance. The more personal essays are (in my opinion) the highlights of the work.

There are also a few errors here and there (such as stating that protons and electrons are made up of quarks, when it should be protons and neutrons since the electron is an elementary particle and protons and neutrons are baryons (collections of 3 quarks)). These aren't high in number and aren't that big of a disruption, but people thinking that electrons are made up of quarks is obviously not good. (I am planning to be a particle physicist so I wasn't mislead, but people not informed on elementary particles might be confused.)

There are a few concepts discussed in the collection that (in my opinion) aren't discussed thoroughly enough. But the reason for this is probably that it would be too technical (and involve too much mathematics) for it to be thoroughly explained as it's not meant to be a technical book. This probably won't be a problem for the majority of readers, but for those who want to know precisely how, it can be a bit frustrating.

Overall, the essays and interview are very interesting in their content (especially the more personal essays), but there are a few problems that hold it back from being outstandingly superb.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Inspiring biographical chapters. Deep content made accessible to a non-technical audience as best as feasible.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and eye opening!
This is a great book for anyone interested in the secrets our universe hides in its darkest places. Part autobiography and part cosmological theory, it's a great picture of Professor Hawking's life and work. Highly recommended for the amateur or the expert.

5-0 out of 5 stars Black Holes and Baby Universes and Other Essays
Stephen Hawking is my favorite science author, and I have learned almost everything I know about physics from this man's books.
This book gives some very interesting facts about his life in the beginning. It includes much biographical info not included in his other books, as well as the usual physics he includes in his other books.
Highly recommended book. And cheap (only a few dollars if bought from an Amazon merchant).

3-0 out of 5 stars Library Journal has it just right
BHaBU is a very uneven collection of essays.To LJ's criticisms I would add one more -- which the author himself notes at the outset: there is an enormous amount of repetition in this already short book.To be sure, the science writing in BHaBU is, expectedly, quite interesting (hence, 3 stars).But many essays in BHaBU are little more than quasi-verbatim rehashings of other essays in the book.Overall, BHaBU feels more like a profit-seeking venture than the deliberate product of a conscientious author.And strong agreement with LJ: the last 'essay' in BHaBU -- the transcript of a radio interview -- is pure filler.Very annoying, I thought. ... Read more

9. Black Holes: And Other Bizarre Space Objects (Science Frontiers)
by David Jefferis
Paperback: 32 Pages (2006-04-30)
list price: US$8.95 -- used & new: US$4.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0778728706
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Accessible to kids but not dumbed down
An excellent science book that is accessible to children, but does not dumb down the science.Several sophisticated concepts are presented.The content is current on some of the latest research on black holes and astrophysics.

Relatively thin book, large format with lots of pictures including many with real scientific value, not just pretty pictures.
... Read more

10. A User's Guide to the Universe: Surviving the Perils of Black Holes, Time Paradoxes, and Quantum Uncertainty
by Dave Goldberg, Jeff Blomquist
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2010-02-22)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$10.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0470496517
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Answers to science's most enduring questions from "Can I break the light-speed barrier like on Star Trek?" and "Is there life on other planets?" to "What is empty space made of?"

This is an indispensable guide to physics that offers readers an overview of the most popular physics topics written in an accessible, irreverent, and engaging manner while still maintaining a tone of wry skepticism. Even the novice will be able to follow along, as the topics are addressed using plain English and (almost) no equations. Veterans of popular physics will also find their nagging questions addressed, like whether the universe can expand faster than light, and for that matter, what the universe is expanding into anyway.

  • Gives a one-stop tour of all the big questions that capture the public imagination including string theory, quantum mechanics, parallel universes, and the beginning of time
  • Explains serious science in an entertaining, conversational, and easy-to-understand way
  • Includes dozens of delightfully groan-worthy cartoons that explain everything from special relativity to Dark Matter

 Filled with fascinating information and insights, this book will both deepen and transform your understanding of the universe. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Awsome book
I'm a technical person who had an understanding of most of these topics already. This book gave me a much better understanding of the topic and has enabled me to explain it to those not so mathematically inclined.

5-0 out of 5 stars A great summer read
The book is fun and brings the information in an understandable way that doesn't insult the reader.The illustrations and great pop culture refrences keep things moving smoothly and you don't even realize how quickly the book goes.

2-0 out of 5 stars Like a science guy trying just a little too hard to relate...
Generally, I like books like this.Non-fiction books that talk about serious complex topics with a bit of levity are right up my alley.However, I kind of thought this book was pretty mediocre; kind of like the science club nerd trying too hard to appeal to whole class but only really appeals to other science club nerds. Their analogies are terrible and sometimes even difficult to follow.Their constant asides and sarcastic footnotes get tiresome after awhile and far too often they offer no insight into how things were discovered to be a particular way or explain things without having to just "take their words for it."

True, there is only one formula in here, which is a plus for the general public's consumption.But last I saw, Bill Bryson's "A Short Explanation of Nearly Everything" covered much of the same ground, was a better read, explained things much more completely and at a minimum of formulas as well.In short, if this topic interests you, get that book, not this one.

3-0 out of 5 stars OK, but not a must read
A User's Guide to the Universe is the authors' attempt to educate liberal arts people like me about science and physics.They get brownie points for trying, but it may be that I am a lost cause.The book jacket calls the book a "plain-English, plain-hilarious handbook (that) ushers you through all of the major discoveries of modern physics".The authors take basic questions (can I build a time machine; what happened before the Big Bang) and bring the answers down to the level of mere mortals.

I enjoyed the book for the first chapter or so.The authors are amusing and I was able to hang in there with them for a while.But not for long. On the one hand, I hesitate to blame them, as I have to say I lost interest when I couldn't follow them anymore.On the other, their jokes got old, the analogies stopped working, and I stopped caring.

So, do you read the book or not?If you really want to learn more about physics in a non-threatening way, go for it.But be warned, the authors' style can wear you down, and in the end, perhaps some things don't need to be understood.Isn't that why we have physicists?

1-0 out of 5 stars Warning - Global Warming alert
I was enjoying this book right up to the 'man-made global warming is universally accepted by all scientists part.I guess the 31,000 signatures of the Global Warming Petition (google it) don't count.

Then the author starts making fun of people who don't accept the IPCC (Intergovernmental panel on climate change) as a - get this - 'credible scientific organization'.

Anyone read the news the past six months?The IPCC is a political arm of the UN and has less to do with science than Minnie Mouse.

As I'm writing this review drudge is reporting that Tony Blair is set to make MILLIONS OF POUNDS as a 'CLIMATE ADVISOR'. 'Global Warming' is the biggest fraud and scientific scandal of all time.That the authors of this book have embraced it so completely means that their 'scientific' writings have no interest for me. ... Read more

11. Mysterious Universe: Supernovae, Dark Energy, and Black Holes (Scientists in the Field Series)
by Ellen Jackson
Hardcover: 64 Pages (2008-05-05)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$10.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0618563253
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The universe is rapidly expanding. Of that much scientists are certain. But how fast? And with what implications regarding the fate of the universe?
Ellen Jackson and Nic Bishop follow Dr. Alex Fillippenko and his High-Z Supernova Search Team to Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii, where they will study space phenomena and look for supernovae, dying stars that explode with the power of billions of hydrogen bombs. Dr. Fillippenko looks for black holes--areas in space with such a strong gravitational pull that no matter or energy can escape from them--with his robotic telescope. And they study the effects of dark energy, the mysterious force that scientists believe is pushing the universe apart, causing its constant and accelerating expansion.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Richie's Picks: THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
"'If it weren't for supernovae, we wouldn't exist,' says Alex [Filippenko]. 'The carbon in our cells, the oxygen that we breathe, the calcium in our bones -- all were cooked up in the stars and expelled in to space by these explosions.'
"The heat and pressure in stars fuse simple atoms, tiny particles of matter that make up everything we see, into other, more complex atoms. Without supernovae, these larger atoms, such as carbon and iron, would stay locked inside the stars forever. But when supernovae explode, they scatter these atoms throughout space.
"Eventually the atoms created in supernovae swirl together like water in a whirlpool to form stars and planets, such as Earth. Carbon and other atoms come together to make up our bodies and the bodies of the plants and animals we see around us. Without supernovae, there would be no flowers or forests, no hummingbirds or humans.
"Supernovae are also helping scientists understand a mystery that lurks in space. The discovery of a new substance called dark energy has stunned the scientific world. Until the 1990s, no one knew this strange energy existed. In fact, if you had asked a scientist about dark energy twenty years ago, you would have been told to stop watching so many science fiction movies. In contrast, today astronomers think it's very real."

This stuff is all so amazing! When I consider how little of the information in this book I knew --- when you consider how little of this information anyone knew until recent years -- you come to understand why it is so essential that dated science books be constantly removed from libraries and classrooms in order to make room for such exceptionally engaging, up-to-date, and stunningly beautiful, informational books as THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE.

"According to Carl Sagan, a well-known astronomer, the total number of stars is greater than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of Earth combined."

THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE is out of this world! Similar to what I've found from reading other volumes of the noted SCIENTISTS IN THE FIELD series, I just learned a wealth of mind-blowing facts -- this time about the universe and matter -- by following an inspirational scientist doing his thing. As noted in the book's fore-matter, Dr. Alex Filippenko is a Berkeley prof who has been voted the "Best Professor on Campus" five times. We trail Alex and one of his student assistants to their nights of observations at the twin Keck telescopes which are perched 13,796 feet above sea level at the peak of Hawaii's Mauna Kea volcano. Then we ride shotgun as Alex heads up to the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, to the east of Silicon Valley.

"A teaspoon of material from a neutron star would weigh more than a pile of a billion cars."

It's all in the presentation: I can just imagine how boring this subject matter could have been presented if it had been done Twentieth-century institutional-text style. Instead, you have a work of art that is dominated by the craftsmanship of award-winning photographer Nic Bishop (and whatever higher power may be responsible for setting in motion the process that results in spectacularly stunning supernovae, along with dark energy and black holes). The actual text here takes up roughly thirty percent of the book. The remainder is a rich mix of vivid, captioned photos. The book concludes with resources, bibliography, glossary, and indexing.

Scientists now hypothesize that 96 percent of the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy. If you only know about the other four percent, you definitely need to take a serious look at THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE. ... Read more

12. An Introduction To Black Holes, Information And The String Theory Revolution: The Holographic Universe
by Leonard Susskind, James Lindesay
Paperback: 200 Pages (2004-12-23)
list price: US$19.00 -- used & new: US$13.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9812561315
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Over the last decade the physics of black holes has been revolutionized by developments that grew out of Jacob Bekenstein s realization that black holes have entropy. Stephen Hawking raised profound issues concerning the loss of information in black hole evaporation and the consistency of quantum mechanics in a world with gravity. For two decades these questions puzzled theoretical physicists and eventually led to a revolution in the way we think about space, time, matter and information. This revolution has culminated in a remarkable principle calledThe Holographic Principle , which is now a major focus of attention in gravitational research, quantum field theory and elementary particle physics. Leonard Susskind, one of the co-inventors of the Holographic Principle as well as one of the founders of String theory, develops and explains these concepts. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

2-0 out of 5 stars Not for non physicists
I'm going to echo what others have said about this book.In short, if you are not at least a fairly well-rounded physics student, this book is not for you--which makes for a great deal of frustration for someone like me.I've always been fascinated by Black Holes and Theoretical Physics in general, but as I don't have a "mathematical mind" I've always had to rely on others to explain the theories and concepts to me sans(at least for the most part) the equations.This book, sadly, doesn't provide much of a life raft in that regard.I find Hawking's Information Paradox and the concept of Holographic Space more than intriguing, and I had hoped Susskind and Lindesay's book would've made those subjects more accessible for someone like me, but I've found, as others have noted, page after page of equations and a definite assumption on the part of the authors that the reader has truly done his/her homework and already possesses an "academic" understanding of physics.I have read books by Hawking and others that have proved both informative and entertaining--I have no illusions about ever becoming a physicist myself--and so if anyone knows of another book that could more readily flesh-out the subject of the Information Paradox and Holographic Space please let me know.Thanks.I will read the rest of this book but I doubt I'll be able to glean much from it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not for laymen
After having read "the Cosmic Landscape" by dr. Susskind I very quickly found out that this was quite a different kind of book. It is a book by an eminent scientist for other advanced scientists, which I am not, at least not in this particular branch of physics. Still, by skipping formulas I could not understand because I did not even know the definitions used, I still, by concentrating on the text for some parts, got at least an inkling of what the book was all about. In that respect it was not a total failure to me, as it made me clear what the present scientific debate in this field is all about. Still this book is definitely not for laymen.

4-0 out of 5 stars If you want this book: buy the paperback
If you are interested in black holes, but don't have a rock-solid math/physics background, this is NOT your book. Buy Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy (Commonwealth Fund Book Program) instead.

If you are a physics student familiar with relativity theory and quantum mechanics, and interested in knowing more about the Bekenstein bound and the intriguing holographic principle, this is YOUR BOOK. However, save yourself some money and buy the paperback edition: An Introduction To Black Holes, Information And The String Theory Revolution: The Holographic Universe (I bought the hardcopy edition, but see below).

There is no other introductory text that goes as deep into holographic theories and entropy bounds as this one. Furthermore the book is well-written, contains clear illustrations, and appeals to the reader's intuition. Would be close to 5 stars, would my copy not have deintegrated (the binding quality is so poor that after some reading the hardcover gets detached from the pages). Hence the above advise to buy this book in paperback edition for well less than half the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Black hole spirit according to a true leader
This book is an exciting review of the most important ideas that have emerged in our quest to understand black holes - essential labs that tell us a lot about quantum gravity and the deepest mysteries of the Universe.

It is an introduction but an introduction for a person who is serious about black holes, not just a person who wants to impress his friends with two emotional sentences about them!

Nevertheless, ordinary people should give it a try, especially plumbers because the author is also an ex-plumber whose father was a plumber and wanted his son to continue in the tradition.

It just happened that Susskind also became one of the top 5 black hole experts in the world. Please don't ask me to tell you who are the remaining four because it could be a tough task.

He's been waging a war against some superficially acceptable but wrong ideas - such as the information loss - and he became the winner. Meanwhile, he also co-discovered string theory and other things.

I don't know James Lindesay too well, so let me talk about Susskind as the author.

At the beginning of the book, you are presented with the geometry of the Schwarzschild black hole - especially what is its causal structure. Equations but also pictures are included. Various coordinates are used to find out who can escape from where etc. i.e. what is the causal diagram.

Following chapters are dedicated to quantum fields in this curved background and particle production, Unruh radiation and density matrix etc. When they have everything, they can finally explain why black hole evaporate (they're not quite black) and why they have a temperature and entropy.

Charged black holes differ in some details and they are explained, too. But all these semiclassical pictures are so 1970s. The laws of Nature must be unitary so something must be slightly different.

Susskind dedicates more than 1/2 of the book to the most modern interpretations and insights that have occurred in our research of string theory and closely related paradigms such as stretched horizons, baryon number violation by black holes, complementarity, holography (he is a co-father of both), related entropy bounds, the concise description of black holes in Maldacena's AdS/CFT, and light-cone descriptions of black holes.

If you want to know how black holes really work according to the best science we have as of 2008, read this book in detail. The author is one of the funniest top physicists and he writes in a no-nonsense style.

5-0 out of 5 stars Solid set of lectures
The book is a scientific diary which presents some theoretical results of the physics of black holes (often peculiar, like the black hole horizon having electrical resistance of 377Ohm/square) and introduces the holographic principle.Conceptually the level of the presentation is high but mathematics is kept at minimum which makes the book an excellent reading for anyone with a solid background in quantum mechanics and relativity. The book is very clearly written. ... Read more

13. Exploring Black Holes: Introduction to General Relativity
by Edwin F. Taylor, John Archibald Wheeler
Hardcover: 352 Pages (2000-07-22)
list price: US$72.20 -- used & new: US$60.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 020138423X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Makes a quick, directed thrust through general relativity and black holes.Brings preliminary insights concerning the history and structure of the Cosmos. DLC: General relativity (Physics) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars A nice introduction to General Relativity
This book covers solutions of Einstein's field equations developed in General Relativity, mainly the metric solutions of Schwarzschild, Kerr and Friedmann as well as topics that attracts the general public:GPS, advance of Mercury's perihelion, Einstein Rings and a bit of Cosmology as well (although it's clear the preference of the authors for a closed universe...). It also covers fundamentals of General Relativity with very few math, such as curved space-time, gravitational redshift , equivalence principle of gravity and acceleration, and the author'smasterpiece: The principle of extremal aging .
Don't expect to see any Christoffel symbols, covariant derivative, Ricci tensor, etc. this is a book about solutions, fundamentals and very interesting topics of General Relativity, a very nice way to start studying it!

5-0 out of 5 stars A Breakthrough in Undergraduate Texts
A book I really wouldn't have thought could have been written. There are a lot of books on general relativity at the superficial level, call these books 'mathless.' There are monumental tomes aimed at the graduate student level, call these books 'tensor calculus.' Here is a book exquisitely positioned between these others. The student will need to have had differential calculus, and perhaps a bit of basic physics, and with these he will get a pretty good, introductory understanding of General Relativity.

The real key to this book is that it explains a lot, but then it open up a bunch of other questions, questions that we really haven't answered yet -- things like dark matter, dark energy, accelerating expansion of the universe, and more.

The book ends with: 'How can physics live up to its true greatness except by a new revolution in outlook which dwarfs all past revolutions? And when it comes, will we not say to each other, Oh, how beautiful and simple it all is! How could we ever have missed it so long.'

That's just the awe, the vision, that we want new and budding physicists to have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good book if you like mathematics!
This is the best book about General relativity ( GR ) that I have ever read. Instead of trying to explain GR with words the author is using mathematics to to illustrate some of the consequences of GR. This means that some mathematical knowledge is required ( but not knowledge about tensors and dfferential forms ) and that the reader need to spend some time with paper and pencil to truly understand the text. The examples is concentrated on what is happening around black holes but the advance of Mercury's perihelion and the slowing of light around the Sun is also described. A very good book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing Introduction to a Very Esoteric Subject
Einstein's general theory of relativity is perhaps one of the most mathematically intense areas of research any physicist or astronomer could undertake.However this book takes the subject and turns it into a joyous romp through curved spacetime.

By avoiding the field equations and focusing on their solutions the authors impart to the eager student an overview of general relativity and set the stage for a more rigorous approach to be undertaken later.This book is the perfect introduction to the subject.

The book is well suited for advanced undergraduates who have had several hours of physics and mathematics.It is likewise suited to serve as a introductory text for graduate students that are studying astrophysics and astronomy.In the latter case the text serves well as an overview of what general relativity is, many of its findings, its predictions, and its relevance to observational astronomy.

If you have a basic understanding of calculus and have studied the special theory of relativity in some detail then this book is well suited to your needs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent delivery!
This book was delivered in immaculate condition and is exactly how I was hoping it would be. Thank you for your product and i hope to do business with you again!


Travis ... Read more

14. Gravity's Fatal Attraction: Black Holes in the Universe
by Mitchell Begelman, Martin Rees
Hardcover: 312 Pages (2009-12-28)
list price: US$99.00 -- used & new: US$75.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521889448
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Richly illustrated with the images from observatories on the ground and in space, and computer simulations, this book shows how black holes were discovered, and discusses our current understanding of their role in cosmic evolution. This second edition covers new discoveries made in the past decade, including definitive proof of a black hole at the center of the Milky Way, evidence that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating, and the new appreciation of the connection between black holes and galaxy formation. There are entirely new chapters on gamma-ray bursts and cosmic feedback. Begelman and Rees blend theoretical arguments with observational results to demonstrate how both approaches contributed to this subject. Clear illustrations and photographs reveal the strange and amazing workings of our universe. The engaging style makes this book suitable for introductory undergraduate courses, amateur astronomers, and all readers interested in astronomy and physics. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on Black Hole's to Date!
If your interested in learning about Black Holes, the conditions that create them and our overall understanding of their effect on galactic evolution then look no further. Mitchell Begelman and Martin Rees do an outstanding job at presenting this material. Everything is covered here including how Black Holes were first theorized, how they were first discovered, the preconditions required for formation, and the current methods used to detect them. This latest edition covers the most recent discoveries including definitive proof that our own Milky Way harbors a massive black hole at its center.

Black Holes have quickly become one of the most popular fields in astronomy and cosmology and books on this subject aren't nearly as rare as they used to be. With that being said this is easily the best book I have read yet on this subject. If your even remotely interested in learning about Black Holes then this is where you want to start.

5 Stars!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Outstanding
I have a technical degree, and I have also read very many popular science books. This is without a doubt one of best. It does not shy away from including most of more technical aspects of astrophysics and yet at the same time it explains them clearly and with beautiful illustrations. If your interested in the math this book is obviously not for you, but if want to understand the physics behind the math then grab this book as fast as you can.

4-0 out of 5 stars What exactly is gravity
This reference provides the general reader with a good overview of gravity, stars, black holes, and galaxies.

5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book about a rather opaque topic
I do not hesitate to give this one five stars.This book is worth every cent and more that I paid for it; I am reading it for the third time.I have never run across a book on this subject that covers as much ground asthis one does with explanations that are as lucid.I have recommended itto many, and will continue to do so.The quality of writing is marvelous,and the organization of the topics is first-rate.Clearly, the authorsspent a lot of time with this one, and they did it right!Good work, guys. ... Read more

15. Black Holes: An Introduction
by Derek Raine, Thomas Edwin
Paperback: 212 Pages (2009-09-04)
list price: US$32.00 -- used & new: US$24.82
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1848163835
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This introduction to the fascinating subject of black holes fills a significant gap in the literature which exists between popular, non-mathematical expositions and advanced textbooks at the research level. It is designed for advanced undergraduates and first year postgraduates as a useful stepping-stone to the advanced literature. The book provides an accessible introduction to the exact solutions of Einstein's vacuum field equations describing spherical and axisymmetric (rotating) black holes. The geometry and physical properties of these spacetimes are explored through the motion of particles and light. The use of different coordinate systems, maximal extensions and Penrose diagrams is explained. The association of the surface area of a black hole with its entropy is discussed and it is shown that with the introduction of quantum mechanics black holes cease to be black and can radiate. This result allows black holes to satisfy the laws of thermodynamics and thus be consistent with the rest of physics. In this new edition the problems in each chapter have been revised and solutions are provided. The text has been expanded to include new material on wormholes and clarify various other issues. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars No Heavy Math, Partial DE's don't come in until Page 5
This rather small (only 168 pages is pretty small for a college text) book is aimed at the advanced undergraduate or early graduate student in astronomy or astrophysics. It is a non-heavy-math introduction to black holes, but at times it says that things would be easier to explain if you had another half dozen math classes.

This is not your basic introduction for the layman. The first chapter is on Relativistic Gravity. And while the mathematics may not be as complex as it can get, the partial differential equaions start on page 5. And there aren't many pages from then on that don't have at least one equasion.

The surprising thing about the book is the caliber of the writing. These guys write like people speak. Reading the book is interesting. (I skipped the math, it's been too many years since I got a degree in physics.) And you get an understanding of where the current understanding of black holes is. You also get a feeling of where research is headed and some hints of what might be found. ... Read more

16. Black Holes, Quasars and the Universe
by Harry L. Shipman
 Hardcover: 309 Pages (1976-12)
-- used & new: US$14.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395206154
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17. Quasars, Pulsars, and Black Holes
by Frederic Golden
 Paperback: Pages (1985-12)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684181436
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Quasars, Pulsars and Black Holes
It is hard for me to find a book that walks the fine line between being too academic, and too 'dumbed down'.Golden walks this line beautifully.He gets right to the point without being losing the reader, or losing the readers interest.This book is an excellent history of astronomy.It is also great look at the mysteries that still puzzle stargazers everywhere. ... Read more

18. Why Aren't Black Holes Black?
by Robert M. Hazen
Paperback: 320 Pages (1997-04-14)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385480148
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In the bestselling tradition of Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise, two renowned scientists take readers behind the scenes, into the worlds of chemistry, physics, earth science, and biochemistry, to explore the unanswered questions of science--and the relentless, coordinated efforts to bring those secrets to light.Amazon.com Review
In Why Aren't Black Holes Black Robert Hazen poses adozen of the most fundamental questions facing scientists today, thenuses them as a springboard to review what is and isn't understoodabout these topics. As the title suggests, the first few questionsdeal with cosmology, but its scope ultimately proves far broader. Thebook covers everything from how atoms combine to the biologicalorigins of memory to the possibilities for futuristic energy sourcessuch as fusion. There's a particularly fascinating section on thecomposition of the earth's core, and throughout the book, Hazenmanages to weave in not just scientific facts but also a sense of thehistory and personalities behind them. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars "The Unanswered Questions at the Frontiers of Science."
I believe the sub-title for this book is quite fitting. R.M. Hazen and M. Singer aptly describe the major questions facing the physical sciences. This is not, however, a book for initiates of academia. It is written in a very simplistic manner, with a touch of humor intersperced within. I would describe it as a light read on a manner of subjects.

If any of the articles arose your curiosity, ample suggestions for further reading are included in the back of the book. All-in-all, it was an enjoyable book suitable for a sunny afternoon read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great educational book for us laymens.
This is a wonderful book to read for anyone who enjoys science but doesn't have a science degree. This book explains questions many have pondered and it does it's best to give scientific explinations without making the readerfeel as if he/she is inferrior to knowledge because they don't have adegree attached to their name. This book explains it in ways for everyoneto understand, that I appreaciate.

4-0 out of 5 stars A look at the frontiers of science
Some have suggested that we will see the end of science when physicists eventually develop a grand unified theory.Robert M. Hazen and Maxine Singer disagree, and show that science is likely to be an ever-expanding sphere of inquiry and study far into the future.The book is clear, concise, and easy to read, with a thought-provoking introduction by Stephen Jay Gould.This is a great little book for airline flights, evenings before bedtime, or a sunny afternoon on the back deck.

The book is non-technical, without a single equation (though some of us may find this a disadvantage).Subjects include cosmology, dark matter, the fate of the universe, energy, chemistry, symmetry, geology, biology, the origin of life, aging, evolution, genetics, human development, and the search for extraterrestrials.Each section in the book provides a summary discussion of the current state of knowledge.However, it frequently only hints at the big questions in science (though most ca! ! reful readers will be able to surmise them).In this, the book's content is somewhat different from the description given on the cover.Interestingly, the book never discusses why black holes are not black.

Generally I found the book technically correct, though often abbreviated (something that would be hard to avoid, given the book's broad scope).Sometimes the abbreviated style leads to explanations that are potentially misleading.For example, the discussion of the second law of thermodynamics (see page 95) is only four paragraphs.In this short space the authors give several examples of the second law at work, concluding with the statement:

"The second law defines the direction of events in time.Water flows downhill.Rooms get dusty.Supplies of fossil fuels diminish.We grow older."

Given a correct understanding of other circumstances, the first two examples describe the second law.However, in each case we can find counter examples if we ignore the unmen! ! tioned conditions under which the second law applies.Wate! r will run uphill if pushed with an electric pump.Rooms can get less dusty if we clean them.Supplies of fossil fuels may renew over millions of years (and lots of energy from the sun). The problem with the presentation of these examples is that the book does not adequately describe the significance of spontaneous processes and the requirement for closed systems for which the second law applies.The second law of thermodynamics does not preclude open systems becoming more ordered, only that the overall disorder of any closed system must increase with time.

The example of growing older is particularly susceptible to misleading conclusions.Aging is a poorly understood process that probably has a significant genetic component.At any rate, our bodies are not closed systems.We continually assimilate energy to drive our metabolic processes in order to stay alive.Consequently, using the aging process as an example of the second law of thermodynamics is especially inappr! ! opriate in such a condensed discussion.In a later chapter, the authors actually go into great detail describing the genetic component of aging, describing the cause(s) for aging as one of the big questions in science (see pages 230 -- 235).

Except for a few similar examples, however, the book does a good job of explaining the essential aspects of scientific principles and problems at a level with which most educated Americans will feel at ease.

In addition to having no equations, the book also has no figures.A few strategically placed figures would do wonders for this book, especially in the sections describing aspects of human anatomy (the brain in particular).Even a few line drawings would help polish off the descriptions that (in the absence of drawings) are sometimes hard to follow.Also, the book does not have an index (a big disappointment to me) so when you read it, use plenty of page markers and a bright yellow pen.That's the only way you will be able to! !go back later and look up any interesting material for fut! ure reference.

Overall, however, this was a great book and well worth the reasonable price.I am glad I bought it and took the time to read it.

Duwayne Anderson ... Read more

19. Black Holes
Paperback: 336 Pages (1992-08-28)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521409063
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Dr. Jean-Pierre Luminet makes the subject of black holes accessible to any interested reader, who will need no mathematical background.The reader of this book will feel that the developments in modern astrophysics are as fascinating to discover and digest as the most fantastic science fiction novels. While answering such questions, the author takes us on a fabulous journey through space and time. We travel into the realms of supernovae, X-ray stars and quasars--a journey to the very edge of the universe and to the limits of contemporary physics. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
"Black Holes" is one of the most interesting books I've read so far. It covers even recent theories about quantum physics, and it's very easy to understand if you know the basics.

It's typically the kind ofbook that makes you feel smarter after reading it... ... Read more

20. Escape From the Black Hole
by Ivor Myers
Paperback: 160 Pages (2007-03-15)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$13.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0816321981
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Their hip-hop band was called The Boogie Monsters.After years of pounding the pavement, they had finally made it to stardom and signed a lucrative eight-album recording contract with EMI Records. Life was good, or so they thought. Ivor and his younger brother Sean were just kids when the family moved from Jamaica to the United States. From their early years, they had learned to defend themselves. Their dad, a former military counterintelligence officer and martial arts instructor, wouldn't allow them to lose a fight. But they almost lost the biggest battle of their lives.Longtime Star Wars fans, their stage names were Yoda and Jedi. But the forces seeking to destroy them and other members of the group were real. Step by step, God sent people into their lives to help them to see the dangerous effects theblack holeof the entertainment industry has on its stars and their fans. Find out how these once high-living brothers, christened Catholic in infancy and baptized Baptists as young adults, were led to give up fame and fortune for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the ministry. You will be amazed at how their heavenly Father answered their prayers and made them more than conquerors. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars It will speak to you even if you've never heard of Hip-Hop
I purchased this book thinking my kids might enjoy it and get some benefit . . . hoping they would maybe see that the Hollywood lifestyle was not all they thought it was. I picked the book up myself a few days later to just see how it read. I couldn't put it down. Ivor's story is so powerful. It opened my eyes to the power the entertainment industry has over even me - and I don't even own a television! But what really thrilled me about this book was the testimony of how God works to reach us. It reminded me of the very real battle going on for each of our souls, a frightening battle . . . but I don't have to be afraid if I choose to join God's side - He is so powerful and He does not give up on us. If you want to read something that will inspire you and make you want to shout out loud with joy over miracles God works then read this book! ... Read more

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