I've had this book in the basement for 20 years and I finally got around to reading it. I'm glad I did. Despite being a tad dated now, Sagan's thesis that it's the dual modes of thinking - wonder of the real world and skepticism of authority and baseless assertions - that most benefit societies. His clarion call for a people with mature critical thinking skills needs to be heard more than ever. He is clear that belief without evidence is anathema to a free, 21st century society world.
Because it was written more than 20 years ago, the book has lost some of the power it had in the mid-90s. Sagan never mentions the internet or social networks. The rise of Islamic terrorism is still a thing of the future. Though apposite in the mid-90s, some of his examples are less relevant today. This is the only reason I can't give this book 5-stars.
He avoids name-calling and strident rhetoric. He focuses more on pseudo-science rather than religion. The book is largely apolitical but the concluding two chapters are, he acknowledges, intentionally more political than the rest of the book. And these last two chapters are just as pertinent today as they were 20 years ago. (In fact, they have a prescient quality to them.) I highly recommend you read them.
Sagan would be 82 were he still alive. It's a pity he's not around to provide commentary. Recommended.
- Paperback: 457 pages
- Publisher: Random House USA Inc; Reprint edition (1 April 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345409469
- ISBN-13: 978-0345409461
- Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.1 x 20.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 11,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)