Caesar's Last Breath (audiobook)

Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us

Read by Sam Kean and Ben Sullivan
10.6 hrs • 10 CDs • Unabridged
Nonfiction/Science
Target Audience: Adult
Release Date: 07/18/17
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Library CD Library Edition CD titles are packaged in an attractive, full-sized, durable vinyl case with full color art. Cloth Sleeves keep compact discs protected and in numerical order. 
- 07/18/17 9781478950493
$105.99
Out of stock

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Summary

AudioFile Earphones Award Winner

The fascinating science and history of the air we breathe

It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell.

In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it.

With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation.

Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.

Review Quotes

“Narrator Ben Sullivan makes the stories of scientists like James Watt, Joseph Priestley, and Alfred Nobel entertaining, reading with humor, humanity, and drama. Whether it’s the twisted story of laughing gas, with its permutations as a hallucinogen and an anesthetic, or the horrible use of chlorine gas in WWI, there’s always a human angle linked to gases. Even listeners who get nothing from the mathematics of molecules will be fascinated by the history recounted and the people who lived it. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

AudioFile

“Compelling stuff, written with verve and in a style that veers between simple lightheartedness and open jocularity… Eminently accessible and enjoyable.”

Guardian (London)

“Entertaining…with sly wit and boyish wonder.”

Discover magazine

“Kean’s ability to explain with clear, vivid analogies provides diverse readers access to previously remote scientific concepts.”

Science Magazine

“Kean crams the book full of wild yarns told with humorously dramatic flair.”

San Francisco Chronicle

“Kean illuminates the science in everything from Earth’s vaporous origins to the function of hydrogen in early aeronautic balloons and the ammonia and butane that Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard harnessed in the 1930s for a novel refrigerator.”

Nature

“The most fun to be had from nonfiction is a good science book…An enormous pleasure to read.”

Mark Kurlansky, author of Paper and Salt