Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding The Secrets Of The Air Around Us by Sam KeanCaesar's Last Breath: Decoding The Secrets Of The Air Around Us by Sam Kean

Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding The Secrets Of The Air Around Us

bySam Kean

Hardcover | July 18, 2017

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The Guardian's Best Science Book of 2017
One of Science News's Favorite Science Books of 2017

The fascinating science and history of the air we breathe

It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell.

In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it.

With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation.

Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.
Sam Kean is the New York Times bestselling author of The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, The Disappearing Spoon, and The Violinist's Thumb, all of which were also named Amazon top science books of the year. The Disappearing Spoon was a runner-up for the Royal Society of London's book of the year for 2010, and The Violinist's Thumb a...
Title:Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding The Secrets Of The Air Around UsFormat:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9.5 × 6.5 × 1.25 inPublished:July 18, 2017Publisher:Little, Brown And CompanyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0316381640

ISBN - 13:9780316381642


Rated 5 out of 5 by from The mundane made magical This book is a gas! (pun intended) Kean takes on his most creative topic yet, and turns it into a breezy, yet informational romp through history.
Date published: 2018-07-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Alright Overall entertaining, but it meanders a lot. This reminds me of Wikipedia binges, you learn some interesting stuff that just barely connects with each other.
Date published: 2018-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extremely Captivating from Start to Finish - Fun and Informative Technically, this book is about gases and some of their properties and their uses. Since our atmosphere is composed of a mixture of gases, these are featured prominently here. However, this book is also about people and about history, and that’s an important part of what makes this book so enthralling. But I believe that its main feature is the author’s most refreshing writing style. It is friendly, chatty, quite lively, clear, untiringly witty, humorous and highly accessible. For me, what also made this book so much fun to read is the author’s careful choice of words in describing various, occasionally awkward, situations; these passages render descriptions of an individual’s otherwise dry/boring activities into ones that can leave the reader in stitches. I found myself in stitches on a number of occasions as I, often breathlessly, flipped the pages. This is a book that can be enjoyed my absolutely anyone. A reader wishing to learn some scientific and historical facts about science and scientists would be hard pressed to find a better, more painless, more fun presentation than that in this wonderful book.
Date published: 2017-08-18

Editorial Reviews

"Kean succeeds because his writing is funny, clever and altogether effervescent. His bestseller The Disappearing Spoon, about the periodic table, had the trick of finding the human-interest stories that open up the science. This one has the same knack."-The Times (UK)