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September 9, 2009 > The Book of the Moon

The Book of the Moon

A Book Review by Robert A. Garfinkle

This nonfiction work by UK author Rick Stroud is not a lunar observers' handbook, but is a reference work for lunar observers. The author covers an array of lunar-related subjects, such as the moon's influence on gardening (when to plant or reap crops based on lunar phases), how the Moon effects the Earth's weather, the history of mapping the Moon, Moon mythology, werewolves and other strange things believed to be caused by the Moon. I liked the section on Moon gods and their stories. Stroud gives brief coverage to the lore of the Moon from around the world and from many long gone cultures and ages. He even devotes a page to listing Pagan lunar festivals.

One real annoying thing about this book is that an author of a book devoted to telling his readers all about the Earth's closest celestial neighbor should know that the proper name of the object is the Moon and not the moon. Though the book is loaded with interesting facts, figures, and illustrations, the author has too often only skimmed the particular subject at hand and missed important details. In one instance he starts his section on photographic lunar atlases in 1910, thereby leaving out the first such work, The Moon: A Summary of the Existing Knowledge of Our Satellite, With a Complete Photographic Atlas, published in 1903 by William Henry Pickering.

Stroud compounds the error by even stating in a table that the "Atlas Photographique de la Lune by Loewy and Puiseux is the "First photographic atlas of the moon." I also found numerous factual errors in other areas of the book, which, in my opinion, drastically reduce the book's overall value as a reference work.

(c) 2009 Robert A. Garfinkle

The Book of the Moon, by Rick Stroud, 2009 Pp 360, index, illustrations, $27.00 (Walker & Company hardback; ISBN 13-978-0-8027-1734-4)

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