Accessible, informative, and entertaining—first-rate popular science reporting.

An engaging, multifaceted view of the moon.

British science writer and editor Morton (The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World, 2016, etc.) provides an account that is not only rich in facts, but leavened with fiction, for the author seems to have read widely in the literature of science fiction to show the interest, ideas, and fantasies people have had about our nearest companion in the solar system. To show how the moon has been perceived by humans over the centuries, he draws on Renaissance paintings, Victorian works, music, Robert Heinlein’s novels, and transcripts of conversations between Apollo astronauts and mission control in Houston. A respected writer on a variety of space-related topics, Morton presents solid facts about the moon, including its size, mass, surface features, orbit, atmosphere (or lack thereof), and, importantly, light. As the subtitle suggests, the author also looks at the future, and he reports that although a half-century has passed since man first walked on the moon, its exploration is far from over. In fact, he writes, “a flotilla of robotic payloads is slated to beach up on the lunar surface in the next five or so years, some from established spacefaring powers like China, India and American, some from newcomers, such as Israel and Canada. Some will be paid for as business investments, and some as philanthropy, instead of by governments, and some by money from all those sources. Some will get there under their own steam; some will pay for a ride on another company’s, or country’s, bus. Some will be given their rides for free.” The author also explores moon-mining, the production of solar energy, and space tourism. He predicts that humans will likely return to the moon, perhaps to stay, maybe even setting up bases and villages; indeed, the moon could well become a steppingstone to Mars.

Accessible, informative, and entertaining—first-rate popular science reporting.

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5417-7432-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006


For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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