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Accessory to War

The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military
Length: 18 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: History, Military
4.5 out of 5 stars (43 ratings)

Non-member price: $54.27

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Publisher's Summary

An exploration of the age-old complicity between skywatchers and warfighters, from the best-selling author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.

In this fascinating foray into the centuries-old relationship between science and military power, acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and writer-researcher Avis Lang examine how the methods and tools of astrophysics have been enlisted in the service of war. "The overlap is strong, and the knowledge flows in both directions", say the authors, because astrophysicists and military planners care about many of the same things: multi-spectral detection, ranging, tracking, imaging, high ground, nuclear fusion, and access to space. Tyson and Lang call it a "curiously complicit" alliance. 

"The universe is both the ultimate frontier and the highest of high grounds", they write. "Shared by both space scientists and space warriors, it's a laboratory for one and a battlefield for the other. The explorer wants to understand it; the soldier wants to dominate it. But without the right technology - which is more or less the same technology for both parties - nobody can get to it, operate in it, scrutinize it, dominate it, or use it to their advantage and someone else's disadvantage."

Spanning early celestial navigation to satellite-enabled warfare, Accessory to War is a richly researched and provocative examination of the intersection of science, technology, industry, and power that will introduce Tyson's millions of fans to yet another dimension of how the universe has shaped our lives and our world.

©2018 Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"DeGrasse Tyson reads the introduction, and he does a terrific job. He has a silky, deep voice, and he paces himself well. He could credibly read the entire work himself, but instead he hands off the audiobook to Courtney B. Vance, whose voice is just as deep but more formal, even regal. Vance does a magnificent job continuing the story with a tone that supports Tyson and Lang's words. The result is an audiobook that speaks to all of us, even those who know little about astrophysics." (AudioFile)

"Extraordinary.... A feast of history, an expert tour through thousands of years of war and conquest.... Condenses multiple bodies of work into one important, comprehensive and coherent story of the symbiotic developments of astrophysics and war.... The lesson is not merely a wake-up call for astrophysicists, but for all of us, for anyone with the misapprehension that science somehow marches on separate from the rest of culture." (Jennifer Carson, New York Times Book Review

"Through ample research and nimble storytelling, Tyson and [Lang] trace the long and tangled relationship between state power and astronomy.... Deep and eloquent. (Joshua Sokol, Washington Post)

"Fascinating.... Retells the history of space exploration, and of the Cold War, excelling in bringing forth the entangled advances of science and military interests.... The book’s message rings like a wake-up call. (Marcelo Gleiser, NPR)

What listeners say about Accessory to War

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    4 out of 5 stars

Intriguing look at linka between science and war

I found this book quite interesting though at times I did slip off on tangents. If you're looking for highly specific data this probably isn't the book for you, but more of a broad brush overview of how science and physics concepts have been applied to, or derived from our unsavoury taste for war.

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narration

The author should read his own book considering his speaking talent. It ignites a greater connection with the audience.

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it's a seriously great book

10 outta mudda pucking 10, have a listen and enjoy its one of the best audio books I've heard.

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Disappointing

How do you make a book about astrophysics and war boring? By making it all about politics and not about astrophysics and war. Sounds to me like NDT is gearing up for a presidential run.

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Sadly Not a great book

Half Hearted Book
Completely misses the drama of discovery from the pioneers of science
Struggled to finish it
I can't recommend it

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a great book but felt stretched at times

this was a great book as usual from Neil deGrasse Tyson, a great story line outlining all the details of the space race and relation between military and space. but at times it felt like the story has been stretched for too long and the details which are not necessary are repeated again and again.

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  • Dan
  • 12-01-2019

Good but the last one was better

It was good and interesting, but I definitely preferred Niels first book a lot more.

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  • Morten N.
  • 28-01-2020

This is NOT read by Tyson! Very misleading

This claims to be read by Tyson and one other person and the sound sample is by Tyson. However Tyson ONLY reads a short few minute intro, despite he's featured in the audio sample. This is incredibly misleading!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Kevin
  • 17-09-2018

Inspiring, educational, patriotic.

Some reviewers claim this book's story is drawn out, perhaps too detailed. To a reader who just wants to experience a conventional Dr. Tyson book about rapid mind blowing space stuff, this book could leave you uninterested at times. However, as a reader who previously and desperately craved to learn about that connection between astronomy and the military, I could not have been more excited to read AND listen to this book. The stories about pivotal moments in history and the hidden heroes who were looking up deep into the sky really furthers my inspiration for serving my country in a way that, until this book, I was quite unsure was possible. I knew the military would be a good way to further one's career in space, but now I'm enlightened in that the military doesn't just empower a career in space, but deeply relies on those individuals for innovations to establish supremacy in the new frontiers of science. Thank you Dr. Tyson!

17 people found this helpful

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  • John Bergmann ERP Consultant
  • 21-03-2019

More political than I’d hoped

I was less informative on science than I expected. I’d say 50/50 on politics and science. I found the political bent made it hard to finish for me.

2 people found this helpful

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  • the truth
  • 12-07-2020

NOT NARRATED BY NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON

NOT NARRATED BY NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON it pains me to give this such a low score who ever Courtney B Vance is He shouldn’t be narrating books his voice is SOOOOOO boring I have a better appreciation of our military because of this book but I have no desire to listen to this again nor did I retain any information from it BORING AF

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  • matt acosta
  • 02-07-2020

A disappointment

This books is hard to stomach. Poorly researched, repetitive, and only lossy relevant to the title and description I recommend readers take a pass. The book is a political one and not one about the merger of science and military technology over time. In the first hour you will hear over and over again things such as how evil president bush and his administration were, how the us military commits atrocities....hear praise of saddam huessein’s rule, etc. I fully acknowledge I may have misunderstood I was buying a political opinion book....but nevertheless buyer beware.

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  • Josef Graham
  • 14-06-2020

Could be a book of lists

Almost unreadable… And I LOVE Neil deGrasse Tyson. This is so out of his normal storytelling voice. Painful to get through.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-05-2020

very opinionated.

very opinionated. it had strings of amazing facts about war and astrophysics, then political rants based off his beliefs. really annoying and disappointing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lucas Hicks
  • 04-03-2020

Reality is not linear

Excellent commentary on the nonlinear and morally gray aspects of Human progress, and the necessity of such.

Tough imagery.

Solid performance.

Recommended

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tor Inge Skaar
  • 19-12-2019

Narrator too similar to author

Book is OK, but what strikes me the most is the Narrators voice. It is too similar to that of Neil deGrasse Tyson. Often I have to correct my self in thinking that this is him, and then I realize there is something off. This happens so many times it becomes an annoyance.

1 person found this helpful

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  • stanK
  • 18-07-2019

good book didnt care for the narrator

the content of the book was great but i would have preferred Neil DeGrasse to narrate himself. the guy who reads it has an infliction like hes reading a list the entire time. :/

1 person found this helpful

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  • tom bunge
  • 03-11-2018

long chapters increase speed

struggled to finish. had to increase reading speed to avoid boredom. very long chapters which made it difficult to follow

1 person found this helpful

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  • Istvan Homoki
  • 23-12-2019

Not for me

As much as I love and respect Mr Tyson, this book was not for me. I listened many books including Neil Degrasse Tyson on Audible, and I enjoyed them all. But when I try to listen to this book, I keep catching myself wondering away. I think the language of this book is way too academic (try hard) and therefore I conclude that it wasn't written to average people like me, but to a few that like to masturbate over the most difficult parts of the English vocabulary. Maybe by talking difficult the writers try to overcompensate for a boring content.

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  • Timothy Raymond Whitaker
  • 25-10-2018

I liked it for a one time run through

hmmm it's ok gives a good historic story line but I'm constantly bugged by the continuous lists which keep getting reeled off which seed to drag on