Chasing The Sun: The Epic Story Of The Star That Gives Us Life

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Chasing The Sun: The Epic Story Of The Star That Gives Us Life

by Richard Cohen

Random House Publishing Group | September 13, 2011 | Trade Paperback

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In the grand tradition of the scholar-adventurer, acclaimed author Richard Cohen takes us around the world to illuminate our relationship with the star that gives us life. Drawing on more than seven years of research, he reports from locations in eighteen different countries. As he soon discovers, the Sun is present everywhere—in mythology, language, religion, politics, sciences, art, literature, and medicine, even in the ocean’s depths. For some ancient worshippers, our star was a man abandoned by his spouse because his brightness made her weary. The early Christians appropriated the Sun’s imagery, with the cross becoming an emblem of the star and its rays, and the halo a variation of that. Einstein helped replicate the Sun’s power to create the atomic bomb, while Richard Wagner had Tristan inveigh against daylight as the enemy of romantic love. In this splendidly illustrated volume packed with captivating facts, extraordinary myths, and surprising anecdotes, Cohen not only explains the star that so inspires us, but shows how multifacted our relationship with it has been—and continues to be.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 608 pages, 9.22 × 6.14 × 1.27 in

Published: September 13, 2011

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0812980921

ISBN - 13: 9780812980929

Found in: History

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Chasing The Sun: The Epic Story Of The Star That Gives Us Life

by Richard Cohen

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 608 pages, 9.22 × 6.14 × 1.27 in

Published: September 13, 2011

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0812980921

ISBN - 13: 9780812980929

About the Book

In the grand tradition of the scholar-adventurer, acclaimed author Richard Cohen draws on more than seven years of research and takes us around the world to illuminate our relationship with the star that gives us life. As he soon discovers, the Sun is present everywhere--in mythology, language, religion, politics, sciences, art, literature, and medicine, even in the ocean's depths. He reports from locations in eighteen different countries, including the Novolazarevskaya science station in Antarctica (the coldest place on Earth); the Arizona desert (the sunniest); the Pope's observatory-cum-fortress outside Rome (possibly the least accessible); and the crest of Mount Fuji, where he welcomes the sunrise on the longest day of the year. In this splendidly illustrated volume packed with captivating facts, extraordinary myths, and surprising anecdotes, Cohen not only explains the star that so inspires us, but shows how multifaceted our relationship with it has been--and continues to be.

Read from the Book

chapter 1 Telling Stories I look upon the sunrise and sunset, on the daily return of day and night, on the battle between light and darkness, on the whole solar drama in all its details that is acted every day, every month, every year, in heaven and in earth, as the principal subject of early mythology. -Max Müller, the nineteenth-century Oxford professor who transformed the study of solar mythology1 Man has weav''d out a net, And this net throwne Upon the heavens, And now they are his owne. -John Donne2 Donne''s awed yet mocking lines were written in the early years of the Copernican revolution, but they could apply just as easily to man''s attempt to make sense of the heavens-to make them "his owne"-by telling stories. Because all societies have myths about the Sun, their sheer variety is glorious-here it is a magician or trickster, there a ball of fire some figure must carry, another time a canoe, a mirror, or an amazing menagerie of beasts. In Peru and northern Chile, many tribes knew the Sun as the god Inti, who descended into the ocean every evening, swam back to the east, then reappeared, refreshed by his bath.3 As soon as the horse became domesticated (early in the second millennium b.c.) the Sun was portrayed as guiding a chariot drawn by four flaming steeds. In ancient India, these were termed arushá, Sanskrit for "Sun-bright" (the Greek word "eros" shares that meaning, having evolved from the same root as "sun horse"). Birds are often invoked-a falcon,
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From the Publisher

In the grand tradition of the scholar-adventurer, acclaimed author Richard Cohen takes us around the world to illuminate our relationship with the star that gives us life. Drawing on more than seven years of research, he reports from locations in eighteen different countries. As he soon discovers, the Sun is present everywhere—in mythology, language, religion, politics, sciences, art, literature, and medicine, even in the ocean’s depths. For some ancient worshippers, our star was a man abandoned by his spouse because his brightness made her weary. The early Christians appropriated the Sun’s imagery, with the cross becoming an emblem of the star and its rays, and the halo a variation of that. Einstein helped replicate the Sun’s power to create the atomic bomb, while Richard Wagner had Tristan inveigh against daylight as the enemy of romantic love. In this splendidly illustrated volume packed with captivating facts, extraordinary myths, and surprising anecdotes, Cohen not only explains the star that so inspires us, but shows how multifacted our relationship with it has been—and continues to be.

About the Author

Richard Cohen is the former publishing director of Hutchinson and Hodder & Stoughton and the founder of Richard Cohen Books. The acclaimed author of By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, and Olympic Champions, he has written for The New York Times and most leading London newspapers, and has appeared on BBC radio and television. He lives in New York City.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

“An amazing tour de force, a grand history, and an irresistable account of an around-the-world odyssey in search of an elusive moving target.”—Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind

“A quite extraordinary book, which I absolutely loved. It’s a fabulously provoking history of discoveries, dreams, and delusions. I shall bask in its shimmering digressions, crazy cross-references, and dizzy overviews for many moons.”—Richard Holmes, author of The Age of Wonder
 
“Remarkably comprehensive and engrossing . . . Apollo, Ra, Inti or Huitzilopochtli—all would rock with delight at Cohen’s sweeping endeavor.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
“A firework of a book . . . sprinkled throughout with such glittery delights.”—The Wall Street Journal
 
“On every single page there is something utterly fascinating.”—Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials
 
“[Full of] playfulness and jam-packed lyricism.”—The Boston Globe
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