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The Book of the Moon Hardcover – June 23, 2009

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"Erudite, elegant, and entertaining. Rick Stroud flies you to the moon and lets you play among the stars." Ben Schott "A miscellany with attitude that's great for dipping in and out of...If you learn everything in here you might even be able to hold your own in an argument with Aldrin." New Scientist "For stargazing on a distant beach, The Book of the Moon by Rick Stroud provides the perfect balance of lunar fact and fancy." -- Helen Brown Telegraph --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Rick Stroud is an acclaimed television director. An associate producer of Brideshead Revisited early in his career, he has since been nominated for an Emmy, and his work has been extensively shown on American television, including the miniseries Nancy Astor and the TV film The Last Day. He lives in London.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books; First edition. edition (June 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802717349
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802717344
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By KaufAstro on February 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I picked up a copy of this book at my local library. It does indeed try to cover all things lunar, including many topics scientific and otherwise. I was taken aback by some of the discussion of basic physics in the introductory chapter. For instance, the author states that the force of gravity on the Moon pulling on the Earth is weaker than that of the Earth pulling on the Moon, a clear misunderstanding of Newton's 3rd Law. The discussion of tides then goes on to state the the force of the Moon on the center of the Earth is zero, positive on the side closer to the Moon and negative on the side farther from the Moon. There is indeed a gradient - the Moon's pull on the near side of the Earth is stronger than that on the far side of the Earth - but gravitational pull is never negative. A lay reader would get the impression that the Moon is repelling the far side of the Earth.

I also agree with the previous reviewer - in addition to getting some of the science wrong the book also blurs the line between science and pseudoscience in many places. A study of the Moon and humanity's relation to it is an interesting idea for a book, but clearer science and clearer distinctions with pseudoscience would be better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Snuffin on August 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I only read through half of The Book of the Moon before I put it down. The dust jacket describes the author, Rick Stroud, as an acclaimed television director; but good directing has little to do with writing a book, and I think the author would have benefitted from stronger editorial direction.

I liked the first chapter on facts and figures, but I felt the text started to deteriorate soon thereafter. Some sections feel padded with extra facts, while others seem incomplete, especially some of the lists and timelines. For example, read this description of Johannes Kepler from page 78:

"Kepler was an astrologer, astronomer and mathematician. He worked for a time in Tycho Brahe's observatory. Kepler's most important work was his Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, in which he described his three laws of planetary motion. In 1615 his mother was tried and imprisoned for witchcraft. She was released after fifteen months."

What do the last two sentences have to do with astronomy and the Moon? Nothing! Why should we even care about Kepler's mother? Why not use some of that space to explain something about Kepler's laws or what made them so important? If you only have a few sentences to describe a person or topic, make them count. Also, the portrait of Kepler following the description takes up over half the page, appearing much larger than the portraits of Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei found earlier in the section. So with Kepler, we get more illustration than information.

The occasional pull-quotes in the text serve only to pad it; the text does not have the density or complexity to warrant using them. The pull-quotes appear too close to the original text, making them feel repetitive.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jon Bearscove on November 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I recently picked up a copy of Rick Stroud's "The Book of the Moon" from a used bookstore and I have to say right off the bat, shame on some of you reviewers for completely missing the point of this great book.

If you turn the book over, it literally states that the book includes the "magic and mystery" of the moon. It even states, "From alchemists and witches to scientists and astronauts...Rick Stroud delves into the mythology and astrology that has inspired civilizations and cultures the world over."

There are only 3 reviews of this book on, two of which criticize the author for it not being a science book, or blurring the lines between science and pseudoscience.

Did the reviewers not catch the part about witches? I'm pretty sure there are plenty of science books out there on the boring stuff about the Moon that no one actually is interested in like kreep, or like how during the Nectarian Period there was heavy bombardment on the moon compared to the Copernican Period.

PS...if you never heard of kreep, it is the acronym for...wait a can Google this if you actually want to find out. So why would a reviewer on Amazon give the book 2 stars and claim that the book is "full of fiction, not facts?"

I have books on the Moon that are mainly facts, figures, and features. You can only read that stuff so many times before you say, okay, I get's the moon. It's like, several shades of gray, and is all dusty and stuff, and I can't move there yet and trash it.

What if you were looking for a book about the other stuff about the moon that makes you say, wow, okay, the moon is awesome! That's when you put down Gerald North's book on the moon and pick up Rick Stroud's.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Newton. on January 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The first chapter of this book is a really nice summary of what science knows about the moon.

There are other strong chapters about the relationship between moon and culture.

Then there are some chapters that state superstitions as if they were fact. A particularly ridiculous paragraph states that science "doesn't know" if the moon's tiny gravitational pull could affect your life. I'll clear that up right now-- if gravity is playing a force in guiding your life, then you better be paying attention to the movements of nearby trains and cars, because they exert a gravitational force on you as well.

Not a science book.
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