This is a history of astronomy treated as biography. Richardson chooses a score of the most colorful and important contributors spanning the four centuries from Brahe to Baade, including Newton and Einstein. Here are the aristocrats and amateurs, the evil tempers and eccentrics, the occasional alcoholic or Horatio Alger figure. No personality profile could be drawn of the typical astronomer; their common characteristic is described by the book's title. Richardson's enthusiastic style (the occasionally intrusive exclamation point), seems aimed at enticing the student to the field, or providing teachers with an extra-curricular recommendation. In this regard it is important to note that the biographical approach is used as the background for describing what the astronomer did and how he worked. A longish description of Baade's ""Assault on Andromeda,"" for example, is extremely informative of the frustrations an earth-bound viewer lives with, and the ingenious ways he devises to get around them.