I read this book to pick up on the vibes of Shapley's personality. That's because I've recently become a fan of his. (See my reviews of The Day We Found the Universe
and Through Rugged Ways to the Stars
.) In this book he basically reviews the various ways in which modern science has made humans and the planet they live on less and less special or unique. We humans over time have moved, at least in our minds, from the center of the universe to being peripheral in numerous ways. Since the book was written back in the 1960s it doesn't contain the latest cutting edge findings of science. Nevertheless, it adequately makes its point.
One less than serious quote from the book that shows Shapley's wit is the following:"The freely roaming and unpoliced dinosaurs, I like to remember, had no plumbing."
This quote is in the context of a discussion about humans giving up personal freedoms in exchange for the benefits of civilization.
There is a 1960s era made-for-TV animated movie based on this book and narrated by Harlow Shapley. It goes by the same title as the book and is available for download and viewing at the following link: