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

THE MOON

A HISTORY FOR THE FUTURE

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 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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

NIGHT

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

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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