The authors have done a remarkable amount of research. The hardcover includes over 100 pages of notes; the list of source materials runs 14 pages ... The book is clearly organized by scientifically minded authors. While varied and associative enough to be interesting, the writing is always directed toward illuminating the research. But there is literary flair to the language as well ... Accessory to War condenses multiple bodies of work into one important, comprehensive and coherent story of the symbiotic developments of astrophysics and war.
...a powerful report ... The book makes for fascinating reading. The history, dating back to Ancient Greece and before, and stretching to current events, is meticulously researched. There are copious notes and bibliographical references. The science is carefully explained, with Tyson's trademark passionate clarity ... Tyson 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 wakeup call, even if an uncomfortable one for the pacifists out there ... Tyson and Lang do end the book on a somewhat positive note, arguing that with future space exploration the situation is different.
As the authors of this exquisitely-researched new work note, 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 ... As Accessory to War continually reminds us, the garnering of scientific knowledge and technology is very much a multi-generational endeavor. For despite great strides in technology over the last century, we are still asking some pretty fundamental questions about the universe ... Accessory to War is precisely the kind of hefty historical, technological, and scientific tome that should be widely read and discussed.
Through ample research and nimble storytelling, Tyson and his co-author and longtime editor and researcher, Avis Lang, trace the long and tangled relationship between state power and astronomy ... Given President Trump’s recent proposal for a U.S. Space Force to bundle existing space-security efforts into a new military branch, this discussion seems especially timely. Readers hungry for an engaging, well-researched primer on space military policy and its history will be edified. Readers who prefer astronomy and want to learn about satellites that look up into space rather than those that look down at rival nations might find these sections less compelling ... Only a few quibbles: When the book veers into space policy, it becomes less focused. Although Tyson and Lang repeatedly argue for a two-way street between war and astronomy, the contemporary cases they present seem to show otherwise ... Still, kudos to Tyson and Lang for pointing out the quandary, taking a deep and eloquent look at it, and offering a way forward.
Tyson and Lang’s millennia-long world history is sprawling. The book is exhaustively researched, almost to the point of information overload. It’s easy to get bogged down in parenthetical asides about minor characters or paragraph-long lists. The book is the antithesis of Tyson’s starry-eyed, bite-sized Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and may end up on the shelves of more history buffs than astro nerds. Still, Accessory to War lives up to much of the promise of a Neil deGrasse Tyson read: Written from Tyson’s perspective, the narration is rich with wry humor and vivid descriptions of cosmic goings-on. For anyone who is, like Tyson, 'smitten by the cosmos,' the book is a stark reminder that astrophysics has been both a benefactor and beneficiary of human conflict—and that the final frontier will likely be the battleground of many future skirmishes.
There seems to be no scientific advancement—regardless of how pure and benign its origin—that doesn’t wind up in military use. And vice versa. That’s basically the theme that ties together Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang’s Accessory to War, an engaging and well-documented survey of the instruments and organizations that have led human civilization into its current battle for supremacy in space ... Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium and ubiquitous explainer of all things cosmic, clearly wishes that war would go away and that space would become a wellspring of common benefit. But he is far too much a rationalist to confuse wishes with reality ... With a worried eye on the catastrophic consequences of space war, Tyson proposes a more pleasing alternative: '[A]strophysics, a historical handmaiden to human conflict, now offers a way to redirect our species’ urge to kill into collaborative urges to explore' ... And why not?
Tyson and Lang consider whether we can heal from the damage caused by our warlike past and use our scientific expertise for productive, peaceful means. They suggest cooperative space endeavors for the good of humankind (extracting fresh water from comets, for example) but acknowledge that we may not yet be ready for that level of cooperation ... This detailed, well-written, and timely work on an important topic is highly recommended.
In a departure from his more spectacle-driven science books, popular astrophysicist Tyson takes a sobering look here at his profession’s long-standing ties with the military ... Although Tyson devotees might find this information-packed tome a little heavy-handed, it offers a timely message about the corrupting influence of mercenary interests on science and suggests that research dollars could be better spent on helping instead of hurting.
In this comprehensive history of astrophysics–military collaboration, astrophysicist Tyson...and researcher Lang explore how two causes use similar tools for different ends ... While acknowledging how science has enabled war, as with the development of the atomic bomb, the authors argue astrophysics can also be a way to peace ... Well paced and skillfully written, the narrative seamlessly integrates science lessons, military strategy, and world history—surely suiting military and science buffs alike
The authors deliver a history that is broader than its subtitle suggests; though Tyson is a space scientist, the military-industrial complex leverages workers in every scientific discipline, from agronomy to zoology ... The leveraging of science in the national interest goes against the basic spirit of the enterprise, since science is supposed to be universal and 'in space there is no religion, culture, or politics' ... An intriguing history.