American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World
By David Baron
Liverlight Publishing, 2017. 330 pages.
This compelling historical narrative follows three brilliant scientists as they journey into the American Wild West to witness the total solar eclipse of 1878. Astronomer James Craig Watson sought fame in discovering a new planet; celebrity inventor Thomas Edison wanted scientific fame in testing a new astronomical device; progressive female astronomer Maria Mitchell set out with a group of all-women scientists not only to study the heavens, but also to prove that science is not just for the men.
David Baron writes a highly entertaining narrative of how excitement over the 1878 eclipse swept over the nation. Anyone who lived through our own all-American eclipse of 2017 can relate to the eclipse-fever that gripped both scientists and citizens alike. Readers will also appreciate the three-dimensionality in which Baron portrays these historical figures. They are not just names that we might here in history class, but real people, with real hopes and fears and ambitions. This book was a great read for anyone interested in history, science, or biographies of great Americans.