Moon A Brief History Bernd Brunner

Publication date:
12 Sep 2011
Yale University Press
304 pages: 203 x 121mm
93 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

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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 neighbour, 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 his lunar lens. 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's perky cultural history - of the Moon in superstition, song, and indeed science - encompasses many wonderful things both imaginary (inhabitants including man-bats or cat-women) and actual (strange lights known as 'lunar transient phenomena', or the burial on the Moon of an American geologist's ashes)." -Steven Poole, The Guardian

"A wry compendium of all things moon-related, this enjoyable book takes in everything from the popular song “Blue Moon” to Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, from Georges Melies’s pioneering film A Trip to the Moon to Kubrick’s 2001 and Duncan Jones’s Moon."—The Guardian

"Readable and appealingly illustrated." -The Bookseller

"Astronomers, geologists, rocketeers and space jockeys all have a practical interest in the Moon, but earthbound mortals look up and project all their fears and fantasies on to its pale surface... We know perfectly well that the Moon is a cold, rocky, lifeless little satellite, but where's the romance in that? Brunner shows how it has shone silver though our dreams and destinies. It is the inspiration for myths and marvels." -Kate Saunders, The Times

"This appealing little volume must surely be the most eccentric book of the year. But then isn't that appropriate, given that the subject is the Moon?" -Clive Aslet, Country Life

"A nimble, fast-moving survey of the silvery moon's impact upon us and our world. Brunner looks at the moon's influence upon tides, of course, and also its place in early psychology, the occult, popular culture and as a necessary first step on humanity's journey to Mars." -Nick Owchar, Los Angeles Times