Beautiful coffee table book: Universe: Exploring the Astronomical World

Posted by David Eicher
on Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Phaidon’s new book Universe offers spectacular images for hours of browsing.

The English publisher Phaidon is widely known for producing some of the most spectacular visual books in the business. They have produced a real winner in the science category with Universe: Exploring the Astronomical World (351 pp., hardcover, Phaidon, New York, 2017, $60, ISBN 978–0–7148–7461–6). Although many image-rich astronomy books have been published in past years, most have been knocked off rather quickly, lacking either superb production quality, knowledgeable and informative captions, a great eye for choosing imagery, and a pacing that entertains as one pages through the book. 

Each of these pitfalls has doomed many an image-rich astro book, but not this one. Phaidon’s Universe is a top-notch act. Some 300 images appear throughout the work, offering an experience like that of visiting a world-class art gallery, and are reproduced beautifully well and on high-caliber paper stock. The book’s handsome size of 11-3/8 by 9-7/8 inches makes the collection something that is hefty and impressive to hold and leaf through. The choice of imagery is really splendid, ranging from ancient texts to early astronomical photographs to a splattering of recent artwork, to of course many important images of the cosmos from recent decades. 

The captions accompanying each image are lengthy enough to convey a real sense of information and drama, and altogether this book really works magnificently well. 

It’s the kind of work that you will certainly read through and glance through for a time. But you will also not be able to put this away on a shelf. Its treasures will keep it out on a browsing table for a long time to come. 

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