If you like astronomy, follow Twitter, or watch CBS’ hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory, you’ve probably heard from the world-renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson at some point. He was also the host of the Cosmos remake that aired in spring of 2014 on PBS.
Still not ringing a bell? Then this book is a great way to introduce yourself to America’s science sweetheart. Space Chronicles is not a tough read like A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, nor is it an amazing look at how science will improve our lives like Michio Kaku’s Physics of the Future. Rather, this book is a collection of brief passages, most reprinted from Tyson’s many newspaper columns, interviews, and even some of his more poignant tweets. This makes for an easy read, and I was finished with it in a matter of hours.
A running theme in many passages is Tyson’s frustration with the American government’s apparent disregard for space exploration. Instead of slashing NASA’s budget year after year, we should be increasing it, Tyson argues. The entirety of the book boils down to a passionate plea for a restoration of the ol’ American can-do spirit that started NASA in the first place. We can put a human on Mars, we can mine asteroids for rare materials, we can discover our origins and place in the universe–but we need the budget and the support of the American government to do so.