Review – For the Love of Mars

Posted November 6, 2023 by Nicky in Reviews / 3 Comments

Review – For the Love of Mars

For the Love of Mars

by Matthew Shindell

Genres: History, Non-fiction, Science
Pages: 247
Rating: three-stars

Mars and its secrets have fascinated and mystified humans since ancient times. Due to its vivid color and visibility, its geologic kinship with Earth, and its potential as our best hope for settlemen, Mars embodies everything that inspires us about space and exploration. For the Love of Mars journeys through the red planet's place in the human imagination, beginning with ancient astrologers and skywatchers and ending in our present moment of exploration and virtual engagement.

This book isn’t really about the science of Mars — though that comes into it — but is more of a cultural history: an attempt to understand what Mars has meant to people, the framework in which people have understood it in different ages, and how that has shaped how we understand Mars now and the kind of assumptions we hold about it.

I found it a surprisingly slow read for the length, comparatively speaking; it was perhaps a bit drier than I expected for a book about Mars (which just goes to show how we think about Mars, I suppose), and spent rather a long time recounting the stories that people told about Mars, e.g. a detailed explanation of Dante’s Paradiso.

did expect a cultural history from the blurb (though it seems other people were misled), but I suppose I’d expected something focusing more on the modern part of it. I did really enjoy the chapter that discusses the Mars rovers and people’s intense, surprisingly emotional reactions to them.

Rating: 3/5

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3 responses to “Review – For the Love of Mars

  1. Nicky. I’ve been a subscriber to your blog for years, and I get your reviews in my email. Before, those emails included, in addition to the book title, the image of the book cover and the name of the author. Now, neither the book cover nor the author name appear in the email. I don’t really care about the book cover, but the author name would be appreciated. If it is possible, could you make it so your email subscribers see the the author name as well as the book title? Thank you.

    • I don’t know if I can, as it’s due to the fact that the emails don’t pick up the stuff I’m doing with the plug-in I’m now using (which makes things a lot easier for me). I’ve been looking at that kind of thing, but I’m not sure what to do with it!

    • Just to add, I asked the guy who is now hosting my site and he might have an idea. We want to see if the site is more stable with some other changes first, but hopefully he’ll be able to do something!

      …He also just pointed at a setting that might just do it. So. We’ll see!

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