Our Moon: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are

Random Jan. 2024. 336p. ISBN 9780593129722. $28.99. SCI
Science writer Boyle divides this examination into three sections: the scientific creation of the Moon and its relation to Earth’s atmosphere; the Moon’s philosophical meaning and the advent of measured time; and contemporary exploration efforts. She chronicles the Moon’s impact on Earth’s oceans, coral reefs, lunar standstills, human behavior, and even menstruation. The second section is the most enlightening; it showcases archaeological findings related to the Moon and its meaning for ancient civilizations like the Sumerians and the Babylonians. The lunar-related work of Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo, Julius Caesar, and Anaxagoras of Clazomenae (a scientist/philosopher who predates Socrates) rounds out these chapters. The book also discusses astronomer Johannes Kepler’s correlations between the Moon and ocean tides, the work of French novelist/poet/playwright Jules Verne, and details of the 1969 U.S. Apollo 11 mission; the descriptions will engage readers, especially if their only reference point is a Neil Armstrong quote or sound bite. Boyle ends by expressing concern about the privatization of contemporary space exploration.
VERDICT A solid biography of the Moon. There’s plenty here for readers who enjoy planetary and earth science books.
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