The Planets

Version: Unabridged
Author: Dava Sobel
Narrator: Lorna Raver
Genres: Science & Technology, Astronomy & Physics
Publisher: Random House Audio Assets
Published In: October 2005
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 5 hours, 30 minutes
Tell Your Friends:


THE PLANETS is Dava Sobel's sweeping look at our heavenly galaxy. In the spirit of Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Sobel once again brings science and history deftly to life as she explores the origins of the planets and reveals the exotic environments that exist in each of these fascinating alien worlds.
After the huge national and international success of Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, Dava Sobel tells the human story of the nine planets of our solar system. THE PLANETS tells the story of each member of our solar family, from their discovery, both mythic and historic, to the latest data from the modern era's robotic space probes and images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Whether revealing what hides behind Venus' cocoon of acid clouds, describing Jupiter's 'Technicolor lightning bolts and shimmering sheets of auroras, ' or capturing first-hand the excitement at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory when the first pictures from Voyager were beamed to earth, Dava Sobel's unique tour of the solar family is filled with fascination and poetry.
In lyrical prose THE PLANETS gives a breathtaking, close-up perspective on those heavenly bodies that have captured the imagination of humanity since that first glimpse at the glittering night skies. This is an extraordinary book of science, history, biography and storytelling. Timely and timeless, THE PLANETS will engage and delight as it unravels the mysteries of the cosmos.

Reviews (4)

Not as bad as previous reviews Indicated

Written by gerryruth on March 22nd, 2011

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Had my doubts after I read reviews, but I went ahead and listened. Somewhat confusing - switches voices, (author, quotations, letters from one person to another - not always clear who is speaking). I persevered and part of the time enjoyed the work and part not. Did learn quite a bit. In particular the information about Pluto. This was written before it was declassified a Planet, but it explained the controversy that led up to that decision.

Confusing at best

Written by Anonymous from Fontana, CA on July 9th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I usually don't write reviews, but this book was so confusing and just hard to listen to that I am compelled to warn others. The seemingly random facts (most of which are known to most children) about the planets are confusing and in a random order, but this is not the worst of it. The author slips in and out of various personalities, writing first person accounts as people varying from relatives of astronomers to the first person account of a rock. Yes, you read that right, one section is written about the experiences of a rock, in the first person. Don't waste your time, rent anything other than this one. JMHO

the planets

Written by Kathy on March 17th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 2/5

If you are really, really interested in the solar system, then this is the book for you. However, after the first CD I just couldn't do any more. It's well-written, and well-read, but I just couldn't stand the thought of listening to all that detail, conjecture, and scholarly trivia about each planet.

Waste of time!

Written by Pamela Buchheit on May 15th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 1/5

This book is 100% mythological. It speaks of the planets through the perspectives of the Gods. The author brings in Socrates a lot. I’d listen to 4 or 5 tracks and stop to try to remember anything I just heard. This is not a factual book about the planets whatsoever. Do not waste you time unless you’re somehow into all the mythological stuff!

Author Details

Author Details

Sobel, Dava

Dava Sobel is the best-selling author of Longitude and Galileo's Daughter. A former New York Times science reporter, she has contributed articles to Audubon, Discover, Life, and The New Yorker. She has also been a contributing editor to Harvard Magazine, writing about scientific research and the history of science. She lives in East Hampton, New York.