Einstein's Monsters: The Life and Times of Black Holes, by Chris Impey

This seemed like the perfect book to pick up after reading The Dispossessed and hearing the exciting news about the first picture of a black hole ever taken. I'm definitely interested in space and astrophysics, but I must admit that this book got a bit heady for me at times and I had to split it into two sections with another book in between in order to finish it. I'd call this: Astrophysics for People in Slightly Less of a Hurry and a Decent Understanding of Mathematics.

I did learn a lot though, and Impey, though he tends to delve a bit further into the technical than I can usually handle, does a decent job of using examples and metaphor to explain difficult concepts in physics. He takes us through the history of black holes, from their conjecture up to provable evidence for their existence, then through the life cycle of black holes themselves and what they teach us about the universe. It's pretty incredible stuff, involving many of the greatest scientific minds on Earth. My only regret is that this book came out before NASA debuted the first-ever image of an actual black hole, and I hope Impey will include this new development in the trade paperback version in some way.

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