This is a well-written and entertaining book. It covers a lot of ground, the only common thread being the science of astronomy. The book is a bit dated, and occaisionally Sagan mentions a scientific question that he hopes will be answered by Voyager as it passes Jupiter or Saturn, which it did several years ago, but after he wrote the book. In general, Pale Blue Dot does a much better job covering planetary science, and I recommend that book much more highly than this.
If you have already read Pale Blue Dot, there are still interesting bits in this book. Sagan carefully and objectively analyzes the pseudo-science of Dr. Velikovsky. Velikovsky wrote an unusual interpretation of planetary astronomy that attempts to account for Biblical and other legendary sources of astronomical information. His science is poor, but he became quite popular as a sort of new-age astronomer. I hadn't heard much about Velikovsky before, but I enjoyed reading Sagan's scientific analysis of his work, just for the fun of the science. Other interesting bits include a section explaining how space objects and features on other planets get named, and reflections on how the birth experience affects our cosmology.
Some quotes Dr. Sagan collected for the book.
William James used to preach the "will to
believe." For my part, I should wish to preach the
"will to doubt." . . . What is wanted is not
the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is
the exact opposite.
Bertrand Russell, Sceptical Essays (1928)
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle,
unless . . . its falsehood would be more miraculous than
the fact which it endeavors to establish.
David Hume, Of Miracles
Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every
science as the strangled snakes beside [the cradle] of
T. H. Huxley (1860)
The most beautiful thing we can experience is the
mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger, whoh can no longer
wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his
eyes are closed. . . . To know that what is impenetrable
to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest
wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull
facilities can comprehend only in the most primitive
forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of
true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense
only, I belong to the ranks of the devoutly religious
Albert Einstein, What I Believe (1930)