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Full Moon Hardcover – May 18, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Hardcover, May 18, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Full Moon, one of the best science photography books ever published, Michael Light presents a voyage in images to the Moon and back. Light took NASA's master negatives of photos taken by Apollo astronauts and scanned them electronically. The resulting pictures are so vivid they seem more clear than real life. Light orders the photos sequentially, selecting the most arresting images from each mission, to create a truly cinematic experience. In the first section, depicting blastoff, you can almost feel the violent shaking of the rocket as it strains to escape Earth's gravity. Then you see the quiet stillness of weightlessness, the astronauts' view down at a perfectly silent Earth, boundless oceans contrasting with bright white clouds. A spacewalk adds vertigo--the astronaut looks fragile and very alone as he floats outside his capsule far above his home planet. Then comes the waiting, as the long voyage toward the Moon continues.

As you watch the cratered surface get closer and closer, you have no sense of scale until you see the miniscule silver and gold lander dropping gently to land on the Moon. Leaving the cluttered interior of the capsule in bulky, awkward suits, the astronauts bring delicate tracings of color--gold on the lander; red, white, and blue on the spacesuits' flag patches--to this black-and-white world. Five huge gatefolds in this section give you indescribable views of the intricately scarred surface of the Moon.

You return to space for the reuniting of the lander and capsule, and a repetition of the tedious journey back home. Finally, you watch a chaotic splashdown in the riot of colors that is Earth.

A nice section in the back of the book explains each photo with a detailed caption, and an essay by author Andrew Chaikin (A Man on the Moon) adds more written context to this stunning visual experience. The book is printed on very high-quality paper, with matte black frames for the photos and a gorgeous, wordless cover. Every space fan should have a copy. --Therese Littleton

From School Library Journal

YA-A San Francisco artist and photographer has pulled together 129 stunning, black-and-white and color photographs from 32,000 previously unavailable pictures of the Apollo missions. He has lovingly put them together to form one continuous moon voyage. The photos, mostly taken by astronauts, show fiery, explosive liftoffs; gorgeous, striking earthscapes; astronauts floating by their single umbilical cords in space; hauntingly beautiful moon shots; and many alternate shots recognizably from the first moon landing. An essay and a section explaining when, where, and by whom all the photos were shot are included. A terrific addition for libraries that need tie-ins with science, photography, history, or creative curricula.
John Lawson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (May 18, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375406344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375406348
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 1 x 11.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Yes, Michael Light could have chosen better known photgraphs. Yes, Michael Light could have supplied NASA Index numbers for each photo. Yes, Michael Light could have done many things differently.
What Michael Light has produced is one of the most stunning collections of photographs I have ever seen in a single volume. I have sat looking at these images and found it hard to drag myself away. The stark monochromatic beauty of the moon together with the fragile humanity embodied in the astronauts has been exposed in a way I have never seen before.
I cannot understand why NASA has never made better use of its image library in bringing to the attention of the public its space program. If a picture paints a thousand words then this volume would take a lifetime to read.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read most of the books about manned space flight published to date. Although several of these books are outstanding, and provide an in-depth perspective that can only be expressed through the written word, none of them gives me the virtual moon-trip experience that this beautifully constructed book does.
It's not just a book of beautiful photographs (and they are beautiful). There is appropriate text that accompanies the photos in a separate section. The very large photos are printed with NO text on the page to detract from the scenes displayed. Descriptive text is provided at the end of the book along with accompanying thumb-nail prints of the photos.
Whatever NASA invested in educating the astronauts in photography paid-off. I'd love to see more!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding coffee-table book. The photographs and double-truck fold-out pages of the lunar surface are stunning.

The effect that the compositor--that's really what Michael Light is here--is after is a little on the arty side, though. For instance, he strips out most, if not all, color on the Moon (which is notoriously difficult to reproduce--there's a good discussion of the problem on the Lunar Surface Journal online), leaving only back and white tonal ranges. That's not a complaint but rather a simple observation about the compositor's intent.

Also, the sequence of images is really taking you to and from the Moon, with little regard for the proper order of the various Apollo missions -- six in all (Apollos 11 thru 17, minus Apollo 13, which orbited but never landed) -- and their unique sets of photographs. But that works well here, I must admit. In this regard, it's LIKE a book version of the fantastic film, and now a Criterion Collection DVD, called For All Mankind (directed by Al Reinert).

Note that there are two editions of this book on Amazon. One is 11.7 square and the other is 8.5 square--or about 25 percent smaller. In a book like this, that's a significant difference. But is the larger trim worth twice the price? Well, that all depends on you. I think the larger book is better, but I've also bought the smaller book to give away as gifts, since I got an amazing deal on them--just under $10 in a bin somewhere. I did buy the original when it came out, and it remains one of my favorite books of photography and space.
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By C. Lacher on January 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is absolutely incredible! The quality of the photos is simply outstanding, making the moon shot feel like it just happened yesterday not 30 years ago. It brought back all the goosebumps I felt as a highschooler when the astronauts first stepped on the moon. Presenting the pictures separate from the text makes you focus entirely on the visual before you. The foldouts are so impressive and encompassing.
In addition, the essay answered basic questions about the space program brought up by the photos but kept it short enough to not read like a history book. This is a book I'll return to again and again. Already I have run after friends, book in hand, shouting, "Look at this one! Look at THIS!" A fabulous additon to anyone's library but most especially for anyone with even the slightest interest in the space program. It offers an artist's interpretation and presentation of a truly amazing and life-altering event.
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Format: Hardcover
I can use "picture book" to describe Full Moon, as images contributed as the major part of this book. Don't think that this book is not worth reading, indeed, it is on the contrary, this is an extraordinary book, because of the photos.

There are a lot of astronomy books contain lots of photos, but when you read them, you would find the images are not so good at all, but not because of the photo itself, because of the low resolution. And if you are familiarize with those photos, you would immediately notice that the original photo is not so small in resolution. It is really a very bad idea for the publisher and editor to ignore the importance of image resolution.

However, when you first look into Full Moon, you will find you're getting into a different world as you are already delighted by the spectacular images of the Moon taken from Apollo Mission. Normally, owing to the technological limitation in 1960s and 1970s, all images are only mostly available as hard copy and not so high resolution. However, Project Full Moon can turn those hard copies into very high resolution images. I can even tell you that, NASA even don't have such high resolution images before.

Since these reasons, I would rank this book as my list of Top 10 Astronomy Book. If you really love astronomy, you must not miss this book, miss the extraordinary journey to the Moon
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