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Journey of the Universe

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  376 ratings  ·  38 reviews
An epic story of the emergence of the universe and of the community of life, with a new vision for how we might bring forth a vibrant Earth Community

Today we know what no previous generation knew: the history of the universe and of the unfolding of life on Earth. Through the astonishing combined achievements of natural scientists worldwide, we now have a detailed account
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Yale University Press (first published April 19th 2011)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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Bryan Higgs
I found this book very irritating, and did not enjoy reading it. I was curious, so I looked at others' reviews of it, and found some absolutely gushing ones, especially on Amazon. Clearly, others disagree with me!

Why did I find it so disagreeable? First, the language, which others apparently have found so "poetic", I found overly flowery and rather pompous -- in a word, gushing. One Goodreads review said "On page 31 I was ranting at the text's 'preciousness'." Amen! Only with me, that ranting re
Peter O'Brien
"Our human destiny is to become the heart of the universe that embraces the whole of the Earth community. We are just a speck in the universe, but we are brings with the capacity to feel comprehensive compassion in the midst of an ocean of intimacy" - page 115

Journey of the Universe is precisely that, an account of the universe's odyssey from the big bang right up to the present day, as based on the latest scientific understanding of how the cosmos has formed.

Swimme and Tucker largely adopt the
Kristine Brancolini
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Journey of the Universe got off to a slow start for me. I was thinking that this is a fascinating recitation of what philosopers and scientists have revealed about our universe, but what's the point? Where is it going? A short book, only 118 pages, with 45 pages of appendices, notes, and bibliography, Swimme and Tucker's book accompanies a documentary television program they produced for PBS. Swimme and Tucker recount the origins of the universe, the galaxies, our galaxy, the planets, our planet ...more
Jul 31, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm no scientist but found it easy to follow, interesting and helped deepen my respect for the interconnectedness of life on earth. It also helped remind me that we would do well to leave our world a better place for generations who follow us.
This little book presents a kind of cosmology: a history of the universe, focused on the Earth and the role of humans. The major thesis, the telling of the human story, is an interesting blend of religion and science which takes both seriously. This telling makes sense of how many of the processes involved are nested one within another and how this blending is helpful in telling and understanding our story. Despite some errors -- the innermost core of the Earth is not liquid but solid and trilob ...more
May 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm not actually sure what this book was setting out to do. Is it a book about philosophy? Science? Astronomy? Climate change? Self-help even? The sad thing is, it is not really any of them. There were a few interesting tidbits of information, but most of the book was so caught up in flowery, unnecessary language that it actually didn't really say very much. I think it lost me about the point it started talking about the desires and passions of spiders. Add to that some very random comments abou ...more
Saira Priest
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is an important and easy read for people of all ages. It brings us up to date how we got where we are. I believe the deeper call to action is to recognize that we can consciously help co-create our future. Just as the recent past has been shaped by humans, the destiny of our future and therefore responsibility may also be largely in Humanity’s hands. I love the language used in this book. It speaks science to the heart and so tells us how it relates to us.
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Meh. Kind of a watered down version of Swimme's "The Universe Story." A lot of money for not very much book. Still, if you haven't been exposed to Swimme's work before this is a good introduction. In general I support the mission of their project, I just wish this book had offered more to those of us who are already following their work.
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Saw the DVD several times already
Max Potthoff
Jan 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
While it's hard to review this book in relation to other more dense deep-dives of environmental history, this is a tremendously important text as a guiding cosmological map in our atomized and modern world. It is a direct antidote to the Bannon-esque vision of life on earth. It's hard to remind yourself on a daily basis just how truly bananas and rare that it is we are here at all. That anything is here at all. On our best days, our society values rationality and progress. This book argues that ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short and accessible read yet one with an ambitious goal, to reorient the place and role of the human within the cosmos. Topically categorized as "Science/Religion," it strongly inhabits the forward slash between the two and thus is likely to meet with detractors from both fields.

Ultimately, it is an attempt to introduce the beginnings of a new story, informed by both scientific discoveries and subjective human experience, as a means of offering an exit route from the death spiral of modernit
Rick Hribko
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Even though this was a book I was forced to read in a week for school, I liked it. It made me think of my footprint on the natural world and how I could start to reduce it. It filled me with childlike wonder as it described how the universe was born and how life came to be. The timeline at the end...priceless for a Social Studies teacher.
Apr 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic. I highly recommend this to everyone—it's short, and written very clearly, and easy to read, yet sums up the whole history of the universe. I got a very very deep transmission, as the authors draw incredible parallels of universal patterns throughout time and space, from quark lepton interactions up to humans. Can't recommend enough.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed reading

I enjoyed that the book concluded with optimism regarding the future of humanity and the likelihood that humans will discover their purpose in the universe. No mention is made of God, but that the universe itself has brought us this far, and can be trusted.
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just what I needed after a hard year: cosmic and hopeful.
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely. Poetic and educational.
Interesting book. A bit esoteric and philosophical.
Jeremy Landau
Dec 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wonderful-reads
A wonderful & comprehensible, well-told book about the origins of the universe, life, metaphysics and our place amidst science and cosmic evolution. Highly recommended. ...more
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful mystical interpretation of Science. Liking this book would be pretty subjective because it is unlike most science. Overall a 4.5.
Sue Von Roedern
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a short and very accessible text that discusses the fact that scientists and religious theorists acting alone will not be able to explain the synchronicity and purposefulness of the universe. Each type of theorist has something to add to the explanation of where we came from and where we're going.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
After reading some reviews of this book before I borrowed it, I was prepared to be slightly put off by gushing prose and "preciousness", however, aside from the author's overuse of the word "luscious", (which, to be fair, was probably only used twice, but it felt like a dozen), I was really pleased by this book. I expected a short and sweet account of the universe, and that is what I got. It didn't always manage to hold my attention; there were several times where I would get lost in thought or ...more
Dec 17, 2011 added it
Shelves: science
Okay I am afraid now that I see the book's reviews' stellar star numbers. By page 10 I was dazzled, enchanted even. On page 31 I was ranting at ithe text's 'preciousness'. I am afraid this book has a special 'message' --as hinted at by its jacket blurbs. I don't like veiled messages of specialness. I HATED 'Ishmael's' hidden ape messenger while others gush over it ...I am afraid this may prove Ishmaelian.

The juxtoposition of cosmology and creativity is a nice premise...I am just not trusting the
Bart Everson
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A short little book, easy to read, that makes the case for a cosmic perspective on what it means to be human. I especially value this account for being entirely consonant with philosophical naturalism, that is, it makes no recourse to the supernatural when talking about ultimate issues of value, meaning, and purpose. This covers much of the same ground as The Universe Story but more streamlined. Recommended. ...more
Nov 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality, science
Basically a meditation on the scientific, cosmological, evolutionary, unfolding history of the universe. Good points, but ultimately I had a hard time with a book about "everything" that does not acknowledge its own mythology. Not that anything that is said is necessarily untrue. Ironically, though, after the first few chapters being inspired with wonder at the complexity of the physical universe and our place in it, I felt a bit bored by the end. Maybe the problem is that a story of this magnit ...more
Oct 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Swimme and Tucker got together on this little beauty to help me understand that the journey of the Universe is one of constant evolution to a higher state, the essence of which was contained in the first few microseconds of its birth, called by Fred Hoyle, a "Big Bang". This thoroughly enjoyable read helped me to appreciate how this evolution worked and still works--through cooperation, not competition.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
This is a very short and easy to read book.
It tries to convey what is easy to see by those of us who love science, how "magical" and "spiritual" the "real" "physical" world is, and it tries to convey that to those who see the world from a more "metaphysical" point of view.
It doesn't go as far as to argue in favor of "Intelligent Design", but it kind of goes that way proposing that we are the manifestation of the intelligence of the universe.
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: quest
This one was way too simplistic and shallow to hold my attention or interest me. I've read too many astronomy books to not expect way more substance and original perspectives from the ones I pick up these days. This book had neither. :(
Jan 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book, I suggest you watch the amazing documentary, "Journey of the Universe" (2014) and winner of an Emmy. The book is the actual script for the movie. Great group has come from this group, "Forum on Religion and Ecology". After watching the film, you will love the book.
Sep 29, 2011 added it
very readable blend of astrophysics and the essence of human creativity-- I found the link between the two as articulated by the authors to be very appealing!
Colleen Cook
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Witches! There's a lot of material here! If you love science, planets, etc. but like it in manageable doses-- this is a good choice. Poetic too. I think I'll read this many times.
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