MAN AND THE SUN by Jacquelta Hawkes


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The opening chapters of this study of the place played by the Sun in man's history will persuade the easily discouraged that it is too scientific for the layman. The chapter on the Birth of the Sun concentrates relatively few pages on a concept of the solar system -- of human groping and interpretation of events of 4,000 million years ago -- the planetary scene -- their seeming harmonious variety; the next chapter comes closer to our understanding in suggesting how the discoveries of the last decade have altered our understanding of the secret of solar power,- still in the realm of science beyond this reader's ken and yet the drama, the vividness of the writing carried me through. Now comes the substance with which most of us can identify:- a study of the place of the sun in the minds of man, from the vague wonder that led to worship in prehistoric man, through the formalization of religious rites, solar worship in various cultures, widely separated. There is the Egypt of Akhenaten, the Mexico of the Aztecs, the mystery religions of the Roman Empire, directly stemming from the Indo-European people-high spots relayed in some detail, while other phases are touched upon. And finally she comes down to the scientific approach, from Darwin on. Earlier science had been more sporadic. But now the astronomers and the physicists came into their own, from Kelvin to the assault on the atom, with the Curies, Rutherford, Eddington -- to the focussing of the human brain on self-annihilation -- the formula of life and of death. Not an easy book to read -- but one that deserves thoughtful consideration.

Publisher: Random House