The Book of the Moon
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Fly Me To The Moon
Moon in Smog A fabulous review of The Book Of The Moon on

Rick Stroud's The Book of the Moon is an incredibly comprehensive look at all things lunar. He covers geology, mythology, astrology, men who went to the moon, those who looked at the moon and even how the moon affects weather. To a certain degree it's a bit mind boggling to find Neil Armstrong and lycanthropy in one title, but the point is to cover the moon in the most in-depth, detailed way and so that is what Stroud has done. That the book is so compulsively readable is a testament to his obvious curiosity about his subject. He really got into doing this research and readers can detect that as they page through, skip around and immerse themselves in elements of lunar history that they might never before have read about.
It's hard not to focus simply on favorite parts of a book like this, but it is the careful blend of hard core science and mythology -- while not giving short shrift to either -- that impressed me the most. It is patently impossible not to learn a lot from Stroud because I doubt anyone is as well versed in Siberian myths or lunar launch history as they might think. It's rare that the entirety of the moon's impact upon human culture is considered in one place or that an author respects his readers enough to assume they would want to know about casting moon spells pages after an overview of the Apollo 17 astronauts. Stroud's point seems to be that you can't just parcel out the moon -- if you want to know what it means to all of us then take the time to consider how varied its existence has been throughout history. It does not mean you must weigh each chapter equally (or even read them all in one sitting), but you can go back here as questions arise and find many interactions between seemingly disparate subjects. To one degree or another, the moon is clearly all things to all people; it just crosses every individual in very different ways.

The Book of the Moon was published for adults but is a no-brainer for teens. Heavily illustrated, formatted in a straight-forward, user-friendly way, it is perfect for research and reports and a great leaping off point for deep reading in dozens of areas. The obvious choice would be to package it with a telescope and decent lens. Then the lucky recipient can start reading about just what makes it special and decide on their own path for lunar appreciation. (Stroud even includes moon hoaxes and a recipe for the Blue Moon cocktail -- how can you pass up this kind of smart fun?)
Review: Fly Me To The Moon

On Stage with Buzz Aldrin

Essay: Trashing the Moon

Why I wrote The Book of the Moon

Video: Man & the Moon

IQ2 Space Festival

Moon Magic - Great images of the Super Moon

Rifleman, A Front Line Life
Click below to order your copy of The Book of the Moon. The book was released on the 7th of May 2009 in the UK and on the 23rd of June in the US:
Buy from Amazon UK
Buy from Amazon US
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