Sagan and Druyan write a compelling book that is accessible to the average person.
I like Carl, but he sure does beat subjects to death in this book. Call it "billions and billions of examples of how life is lived on earth, now and in the past". In this book, Carl and his wife "trace the history of life, and the path that led to us - how we got to be the way we are." Carl is really good at exploring and explaining, and a lot can be learned from this book. If you paid attention at school or think biology, genetics, microbiology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, zoology, anatomy, chemistry, geology, or astrophysics are cool subjects, then you are going to scream at the pages and pages of examples you get to explain concepts you already know. What Carl is good at, is linking them together in a way you might not have, and get you thinking in ways you might not have done before. I almost threw the book into the pool, when, after 420 pages of waiting for the natural continuation of the discussion, I realized he wasn't going to present it in this book. "It's key central section - chronicling the dawn of our species and its evolution up to the invention of civilization - is the subject of the next book in this series." Maybe that is "Dragons of Eden" or maybe he died before he got a chance to write the true sequel. Whatever. We are living it anyhow.
Perfect for Carl Sagan fans.
Maybe the editors thought Carl needed the feminine touch with his writing (although it's his wife, she helped write COSMOS as well), but it was too mystical and hard to follow where it was going for me. The latter part of the book was better, where they discuss primate behavior.