The first chapter of this book concerns the events of 11th
January 1935, the day when Eddington severely attacked Chandrasekhar's ideas on white dwarfs and stellar collapse at a meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society in London. The rest of the book revolves around this day, looking at what led up to it and what the effects were in the following decades. Its a fascinating story, and demonstrates Miller's skill in sorting out the interactions between the different players. He examines the importance of hard work against personal influence in the struggle to succeed, and indeed what is meant by success.
The story as presented in many books is that Chandra was so put off by Eddington's words that he turned to a different field of work, and so the study of black holes was delayed by several decades. Here we get a better view, Chandra continued work on white dwarfs, and within 10 years his view was accepted. Several other fields, such as general relativity and the theory of supernovae, needed to advance before black holes could become popular. In this book we are told what was happening in the intervening decades to allow this to happen.