Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us

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 oThe fascinating science and history of the air we breatheIt 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 Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us 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

  • Title: Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us
  • Author: Sam Kean
  • ISBN: 9780316381642
  • Page: 341
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us”

    1. ETA: I would just like to add that even though I have the ARC of this book in ebook form, I just paid retail price for the hardback as a Christmas gift for my teenage science nerd kid (shhh, don't tell him). Highly recommended if you or anyone you love enjoys non-fiction pop science books!Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature (along with my co-reviewer Bill's 5 star review):So much fun! Caesar’s Last Breath is certainly the most enjoyable, informative and accessible popular science [...]

    2. In ninja-like fashion and with deadly and merciless scientific roundhouses, Sam Kean has become one of my favorite non-fiction writers, which means two things: 1) I’m going to gush about his latest offering; and 2) the other writers in that group should be wary (so watch your back, Joseph Ellis; maybe start sleeping with the lights on). As with Kean’s previous books, Caesar’s Last Breath is a marvelous balancing act that mixes copious quantities of science with wit and humor without being [...]

    3. I want to thank the publisher for providing a copy of this book for me to review, this book is a study of oxygen, what is composed of , what it is it's structure and how the study of it had affected our society, all along the book the author provides historical notes to provide a relief to all the science behind the book , and these are very welcome . It is amazing to know how much it is to know about this gas (oxygen) that we usually take for granted but without which we would not exist , life [...]

    4. I received a free copy of Caesar's Last Breath for review, which I confess does make me a little positively biased , BUT Kean's non-fiction piece is really good. I'm not sure how he does it but Kean somehow takes an extremely broad topic: "the air" and structures the book in a way that makes sense. Balancing historic anecdotes, not just about scientists (for example Caesar), with science lessons the book was fun to digest even though their was a lot to absorb.One thing I will say however is this [...]

    5. Given that the two Sam Kean books I've read where I'm fairly well-acquainted with the subject have come off to me as popular science drivel (this one and The Disappearing Spoon), I might have to retroactively lower my assessments of his other books (if I don't want to fall prey to the Murray Gell-Mann amnesia effect). To be fair, I don't remember anything that was actively wrong in this book, just a lot of bluster and puffing.One thing I really don't like is Kean's attempt to "have his cake and [...]

    6. When I picked up Sam Kean's new book on air, I knew I was going to learn about the molecular structure of air and the permanence of these molecules in the history of our planet. What I didn't expect was a thorough study of everything that can possibly relate to the element. I learned about weather-making, atomic bomb testing, first balloon flights, radioactivity of bananas, Roswell incident, life on other planets, and much more. I'm a complete nerd for trivia, and now I'm just bursting to unleas [...]

    7. I won this book in a drawing.A wonderful book recounting the science surrounding the air around us, and how many of the gases and their properties were discovered, often by accident. Very entertaining stuff, and very educational at the same time.Highly recommended.

    8. You can capture the entire history of the world in a single breath.Accessible writing with some dry humor and a bit of snarkiness thrown in from time to time. Broken down into three basic parts-the first atmospheres, how our early atmosphere was formed.-human discoveries of the workings of the atmosphere and various gasses.-effects human inventions/discoveries had on the atmosphere.Overall an enjoyable book and I'll leave you with this thought from the author on climate change,But as much as I b [...]

    9. Meditation practice often begins with focus on breathing, and in that sense there is no deeper meditation than "Caesar's Last Breath" to inspire mindfulness of the air within you (and around you). With this treatise on gasses, Sam Kean has solidified himself as one of my favorite authors. He shares stories of fact and discovery with a pervasive sense of humor and humanity, a brilliant penchant for the "callback" that connects and reinforces disparate concepts, a keen sense of which details are i [...]

    10. Random, hodge-podge theory: the epitome of "all over the page". This is one of those books I wish I could UN-read. We don't all breathe the same air as our ancient ancestors--including Caesar. We'd have to live in a dome and Earth isn't that kind of place.

    11. Received to review via Netgalley; publication date 18th JulySam Kean is an entertaining pop science writer in general, and though this isn’t as perfectly up my street as The Tale of the Duelling Neurosurgeons, it’s still fascinating and very readable. It starts by reminding us that we’re breathing the same air as everyone who has ever lived — including Caesar, hence the title — and that there’s a high chance we’re breathing in some of the same molecules that bounced around their lu [...]

    12. Good, but I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I have his previous books. Maybe those other topics – the elements, genetics, the human brain – are just more interesting to me than “gases.” “Air” is just such an amorphous topic, and the organization here felt very random. As always, Kean tells the stories related to each gas in a lively, humorous way, and he skillfully connects the scientific ideas he's relating with historical incidents that illustrate their relevance. Air might not l [...]

    13. Sam Kean does it again! In his typical conversational style, he makes science accessible and fun for the lay person, using odd occurrences from history to explain the gases that make up our atmosphere (and a few others). I really love his writing style because it is so much like how a person would talk and so non-technical. In some ways, I guess I like it because it's kind of how I would write? He takes a very human-interest sort of perspective, telling the stories of people who discovered eleme [...]

    14. 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 [...]

    15. 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 s [...]

    16. I was so excited when I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and Little, Brown & Company. I'm always looking for good books that I can share with my High School science students, but it's rare to find a chemistry related book that fits the bill -- Especially one as entertaining and engaging as this one. This examines how the gasses around us, often unnoticed, have shaped the world around us and been shaped by us. Kean uses historical events, discoveries, and anecdotes to illustrate ho [...]

    17. Disclaimer: I was sent a review copy in exchange for a fair review.I probably got the review copy because I loved an earlier Sam Kean book, The Violinist's Thumb. In that book, Kean did a deep dive (for laymen) into our genetic code, with each chapter organized around an amusing story that tied into the theme of that chapter. It was deeply researched, very entertaining, and quite informative.Here, he tries the same formulay it never quite gels. So this one is about gases. Just that--gases in gen [...]

    18. I received an Advanced Reader Copy from a 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.

    19. Ever heard of dichlorodifluoromethane? (That's CCl2F2 to you chemistry students.) Well, guess what? You inhale seven trillion molecules of the stuff every time you breathe. Yes, it's in the air we breathe. That's just one of the lesser revelations in Sam Kean's eye-opening and thoroughly enjoyable new survey, Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us. As the title will suggest to the careful reader, the central conceit in Kean's book is that "roughly one particle of [th [...]

    20. We all get annoyed when someone doesn’t cover their mouth when they cough for fear that we will inhale whatever they are spewing into the air around us. But, according to Sam Kean, when we breathe, we not only inhale the air of those near us right now but, in fact, every breath we take connects us with the breath of everyone who has ever lived including, as the title of his latest book suggests, Caesar’s last breath. As it says on the cover blurb [w]ith every breath, you literally inhale the [...]

    21. This is another highly readable work of popular science by Sam Kean. I enjoyed it at least as much as I enjoyed The Disappearing Spoon and The Violinist’s Thumb. In telling the story of out atmosphere and the gasses it contains Kean uses his reliable formula that mixes science with human stories, beginning with the fate of Caesar’s last breath and ending with the fate of mankind.

    22. Physics and chemistry students are regularly forced to prove that molecules from Julius Caesar's last breath are definitely inside your lungs right now. Yes, you. Kean's rollicking exploration of Earth's atmosphere is stuffed full of such staggering oddities. Even an element as staid as nitrogen turns out to have a shocking back story, involving Nazis of all things. Although there is a decent amount of science, most of the focus is on the scientists: their triumphs, disasters, foibles, and occas [...]

    23. I was not a particularly enthusiastic student, at least where science was concerned. Every class I took on the subject, from middle school through college, left me completely uninterested, and I soon mastered the art of daydreaming while maintaining eye contact with my teachers, always with a notebook and pen seemingly at the ready. (In college, a required class on soil science, held at 9 a.m was almost too much to bear. To keep myself awake, I sat beside the same student every Tuesday and Thurs [...]

    24. While ultimately a good reade 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.

    25. I have marked this book up. There is so much great information to learn about the gases that make up our air. There were facts I wanted to know more about, watch videos on, laughed at, and some that are just plain sad. If you like science even a smidgeon and history you will love this author.

    26. Another great book from San Kean. Many fun facts are revealed. The best was late in the book where he writes about the "Roswell" issue, and gives us a wonderful explanation for what happened. I was not sure what could be told about air but the author found plenty to keep the reader involved.

    27. An excellent specimen of the pop science books which seem to be more numerous by the day. In the tradition of books like Rain or Salt or the Soul of an Octopus, Kean focuses on one specific thing in the greater universe of science and uses it as a lens to tell stories about humanity and the world more broadly.At first blush, a book about air or gases doesn't seem like it would be that interesting. But through air, Kean explores the story of the early earth, the Industrial Revolution, the climate [...]

    28. In a story telling method, author Sam Kean presents ​the story of air ​and our atmosphere ​in an interesting and easy to digest manner. ​His book, Caesar's Last Breath, covers (1) how our atmosphere developed and changed over time; (2) what air is made up of, and how those elements were discovered; (3) ​how science advanced studying gases in our atmosphere; and (4) ​how man's activities impact our atmosphere. And for technophobes, take comfort in the fact that the book never gets bog [...]

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