Chasing the Sun (Paperback)
The Sun is so powerful, so much bigger than us, that it is a terrifying subject. Yet though we depend on it, we take it for granted. Amazingly the first book of its kind, Chasing the Sun is a cultural and scientific history of our relationship with the star that gives us life. Richard Cohen, applying the same mix of wide-ranging reference and intimate detail that won outstanding reviews for By the Sword, travels from the ancient Greek astronomers to modern-day solar scientists, from Stonehenge to Antarctica (site of the solar eclipse of 2003, when penguins were said to sing), Mexico's Aztecs to the Norwegian city of Tromso, where for two months of the year there is no Sun at all. He introduces us to the crucial 'sunspot cycle' in modern economics, the religious dances of Indian tribesmen, the histories of sundials and calendars, the plight of migrating birds, the latest theories of global warming, and Galileo recording his discoveries in code, for fear of persecution. And throughout, there is the rich Sun literature -- from the writings of Homer through Dante and Nietzsche to Keats, Shelley and beyond. Blindingly impressive and hugely readable, this is a tour de force of narrative non-fiction.