A sweeping inquiry into how the night sky has shaped what it means to be human. For tens of thousands of years, the stars were our constant companions. One of our species' most enduring and universal relationships has been with the night sky itself, yet in the glow of today's artificial lighting, we have forgotten this intimacy with the cosmos. Stargazing has shaped the entire course of human civilization. The rhythm of our ancestors' lives revolved around the stars, from cycles of agriculture to patterns of birth. Our origin myths made the Sun into a life-giving creator and the Milky Way a gateway for departed souls. The motion of celestial bodies sustained the illusion that the Earth was at the centre of the cosmos - until looking at them more closely sparked the Scientific Revolution. Across the ages stars have served as clocks, maps, compasses, muses, and gods, defining both our laws of reality and our dreams of the sublime. How radically different would humanity be if our ancestors had looked up to the night sky and seen...nothing? In lyrical yet evidence-grounded meditations, Trotta imagines a world without stars, a dramatic alternate history in which we wouldn't understand gravity, where couldn't navigate or have much sense of time, and where our sense of the profound - of art and of the divine - was altered beyond recognition. Revealing the hidden connections between astronomy and the story of civilization, Starborn summons us to the marvellous sight that awaits us on a clear dark night - to lose ourselves in the immeasurable vastness above.