Caesar's Last Breath
The fascinating science and history of the air we breathe It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell.In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it.With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation.Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.

Caesar's Last Breath Details

TitleCaesar's Last Breath
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJul 18th, 2017
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
ISBN0316381640
ISBN-139780316381642
Number of pages384 pages
Rating
GenreScience, Nonfiction, History, Environment, Nature, Planetary Science

Caesar's Last Breath Review

  • Cj Zawacki
    June 2, 2017
    So we talk in it, see in it, we walk in it: and even bring it into our bodies. Sam Kean has written CAEAR'S LAST BREATH to explain what is in the air we breath in our lives. I could say this is a nerd's book on science, however, I found the story of what we are breathing to be extremely enjoyable with lots of side comments. Kean takes us on an adventure into the discovery of all the gases we inhale and the history of their discovery. Each chapter has insights from the beginning of Earth to the S So we talk in it, see in it, we walk in it: and even bring it into our bodies. Sam Kean has written CAEAR'S LAST BREATH to explain what is in the air we breath in our lives. I could say this is a nerd's book on science, however, I found the story of what we are breathing to be extremely enjoyable with lots of side comments. Kean takes us on an adventure into the discovery of all the gases we inhale and the history of their discovery. Each chapter has insights from the beginning of Earth to the Stars of the Universe. Great reading for inquisitive minds, well explained for the common readers.An enjoyable read about a necessity life function we cannot live without. Just try holding your breath on this book's knowledge.
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  • Steve
    May 21, 2017
    Great look at the atmosphereThis is the third book of Sam Kean’s that I’ve read; the other two were “The Violinist's Thumb” and “The Disappearing Spoon”. I loved the latter two, so I had high expectations for “Caesar’s Last Breath”. I was not disappointed. Once again Kean does some great storytelling, this time about the atmosphere. There is some science involved since it is necessary to understand the behavior of gases in order to understand the atmosphere. Kean explains the science very simply Great look at the atmosphereThis is the third book of Sam Kean’s that I’ve read; the other two were “The Violinist's Thumb” and “The Disappearing Spoon”. I loved the latter two, so I had high expectations for “Caesar’s Last Breath”. I was not disappointed. Once again Kean does some great storytelling, this time about the atmosphere. There is some science involved since it is necessary to understand the behavior of gases in order to understand the atmosphere. Kean explains the science very simply, clearly, and painlessly. He then delves into a discussion of the atmosphere. Although I was already familiar with some of the material that Kean discusses, Kean’s magnificent storytelling made it seem all new. Even the footnotes are great. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who likes science.Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley for review purposes.
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  • Leslie Dalton
    May 23, 2017
    While ultimately a good read...the book was a little hard to follow in the beginning. I had to read several pages over to make sure I completely understood what the author was talking about. About mid way through the book however it became harder and harder to put the book down. This is definitely not a book for someone who likes to get pulled in right away. But very interesting to learn about our atmosphere and how everything we use and do today are connected to the molecules in the air around While ultimately a good read...the book was a little hard to follow in the beginning. I had to read several pages over to make sure I completely understood what the author was talking about. About mid way through the book however it became harder and harder to put the book down. This is definitely not a book for someone who likes to get pulled in right away. But very interesting to learn about our atmosphere and how everything we use and do today are connected to the molecules in the air around us.
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  • Kristy
    May 31, 2017
    ***I received my copy through Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review.***A pretty cool pop-science book about how "air" and other gaseous elements have been harnessed over time. It's also a great historical account of the Enlightenment. The chapter on medicine, chloroform, and anesthesia is roooough. There's also a guy who could do anus tricks at the Moulin Rouge. Ain't science grand?
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  • Mark
    May 24, 2017
    I received an Advanced Reader Copy from a Goodreads giveaway and the book is full of interesting scientific stories and tidbits, related to the air we breathe and the atmosphere around us. My only complaint about the book is that it seems a bit unfocused. The topics are all over the place and only slightly cohere around a theme. This doesn't stop the book from being interesting. It simply makes the topics seem random.
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