Impact: How Rocks from Space Led to Life, Culture, and Donkey Kong

Morrow. Feb. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780063078925. $28.99. SCI
In his authorial debut, meteoriticist Brennecka seeks to prove that meteorites don’t just make up our physical world, they make up our culture too. Brennecka begins with the birth of the universe and takes readers on a journey through time and space, in a narrative that is both approachable and entertaining. He explores the rocky origins of the moon, the impact of meteorites on early religions and weapon-making, and how astronomical discoveries (whether genuine or misguided) continue to transform popular culture. Accompanying this textual journey are cartoon illustrations demonstrating scientific concepts like velocity and gas giants (reminiscent of Randall Munroe’s xkcd) and photographs of historical meteorites and artifacts that show humanity’s relationship to space rocks throughout history. This book is sure to engage popular science readers of all levels of expertise; for advanced readers, Brennecka has appended the text with more technical information on meteoritics.
VERDICT Brennecka successfully tackles a niche corner of the popular science genre where anthropology meets astrophysics. His knowledge and wit come together in an excellent debut that will appeal to readers of Munroe, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Carl Sagan.
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