A Brief History
September 12, 2011
304 pages, 4 3/4 x 8
93 b/w illus.
Read the New York Times article
See the New York Times slideshow
Werewolves and Wernher von Braun, Stonehenge and the sex lives of sea corals, aboriginal myths, and an Anglican bishop: In his new book, Moon, Bernd Brunner weaves variegated information into an enchanting glimpse of Earth’s closest celestial neighbor, whose mere presence inspires us to wonder what might be “out there.”
Going beyond the discoveries of contemporary science, Brunner presents an unusual cultural assessment of our complex relationship with Earth’s lifeless, rocky satellite. As well as offering an engaging perspective on such age-old questions as “What would Earth be like without the moon?” Brunner surveys the moon’s mythical and religious significance and provokes existential soul-searching through a lunar lens, inquiring, “Forty years ago, the first man put his footprint on the moon. Will we continue to use it as the screen onto which we cast our hopes and fears?”
Drawing on materials from different cultures and epochs, Brunner walks readers down a moonlit path illuminated by more than seventy-five vintage photographs and illustrations. From scientific discussions of the moon’s origins and its “chronobiological” effects on the mating and feeding habits of animals to an illuminating interpretation of Bishop Francis Godwin’s 1638 novel The Man in the Moone, Brunner’s ingenious and interdisciplinary explorations recast a familiar object in an entirely original and unforgettable light and will change the way we view the nighttime sky.
“Brunner encapsulates this sense of mystery about the moon in a relative short and accessible work. A useful introduction to its cultural history.”—Roger Launius, Senior Curator, Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum Smithsonian Institution
"Eclectic, entertaining and sometimes esoteric!"—Sean Johnston, author of History of Science, A Beginner's Guide
“Moon is an enjoyable romp through the various fields of lunar lore, including its history as an object of curiosity, worship, and study. Fun and fast-paced!”—Dr. Paul D. Spudis, author of The Once and Future Moon
"An intriguing literary expedition to our nearest neighbor in space."—Patricia Fara, author of Science: A Four Thousand Year History
"In Bernd Brunner's . . . volume dealing with the moon, we are plunged immediately into a fascinating tour of the moon in ancient cultures. . . . well written, . . . full of fascinating bits of information."—James Trefil, Washington Post
"Many books cover moon science; many others concentrate on the mythology, folklore, and cultural aspects surrounding it. Brunner's does this and more, giving readers a thorough, entertaining look at people as much as at the moon. ... A valuable book for anyone with an interest in Earth's companion." —CHOICE
“The book is a tour de force on the relationship between man and the moon, giving equal attention to science, poetry, and mythology, while still including a welcome body of miscellanea. It quickly becomes clear that the scientific history of the moon is inseparable from the popular ideas of its composition and also that now and then even serious scientists develop especially curious projections far in advance of literary fantasy when describing the lunar inhabitants.”—Tilman Spreckelsen, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
"Superb non-fiction books. ... They are archives unto themselves. A repository for dreams, visions, and fears."—Die Zeit
Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the Astronautics and Astronomy category.