American Eclipse by David Baron


With the eclipse coming up on August 21, I wanted to be sure to read this book before then, and I’m glad I did.  Now I just wish I had planned ahead to go to a great viewing spot on August 21.  This engaging and well-researched book is full of information about the scientists and astronomers James Craig Watson, Maria Mitchell, and Thomas Edison during the total solar eclipse of 1878. Watson was trying to prove that a planet, Vulcan, did exist; Mitchell was proving that women could be outstanding scientists and forged ahead for women’s rights; and Edison was eager to test his new invention, the tasimeter, a device that measured heat.   The book primarily focuses on those three, but many other well-known and lesser-known figures of the day are also well-presented. It highlights an interesting time period for America where our country gained a lot of respect throughout the world for the astronomical and scientific endeavors.  Baron does a great job of developing and bringing to life the three main characters as well as the other characters, too, showcasing their struggles and triumphs.   As a female, I found it interesting that there was a widely held theory that women couldn’t be scientists because it would make them sick and barren.  “Fortunately, Mitchell and her success helped spur a study that dispelled that theory.  I would encourage you to rush out and read this before (or after if you can’t do it before) August 21.

Thank you to Edelweiss for providing me a copy of the book to read for an honest review.



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