The Cosmic Verses: A Rhyming History of the Universe

James Muirden, Author, David Eccles, Illustrator , illus. by David Eccles. Walker $13.95 (223p) ISBN 978-0-8027-1569-2

This latest volume of didactic verse from the author of A Rhyming History of Britain brings Muirden's knack for the explanatory couplet to the history of astronomy. Using mainly iambic tetrameter—spiked with the occasional limerick and aided by Eccles's charming cartoons—Muirden traces the study of the cosmos from Cro-Magnon times to the present. Even when the science is knotty, readers will marvel at Muirden's ability to rhyme almost anything—including Einstein's general theory of relativity ("But nobody was then prepared/For e to = mc ²). Muirden places the science within its historical context; plenty of rhymes address the formidable role the Church played in furthering (or thwarting) the pursuit of scientific knowledge, and if lay readers close this book with a still-incomplete grasp of astronomy, it's likely they'll come away with a better understanding of, say, the Danish court of Tycho Brahe's time or of the intellectual climate in Baghdad in A.D. 762. For uninitiated readers seeking an introduction to astrophysics, there are more comprehensive (nonrhyming) books available. Those with a background in astronomy, however—or those who just wish to appreciate Muirden at the top of his game—will find this delightful. (Jan)

Reviewed on: 11/06/2006
Release date: 01/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 224 pages - 978-1-84317-218-5
Open Ebook - 978-0-8027-1870-9
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