It takes a certain amount of courage to step beyond one's day-to-day experiments and look at the big picture - and the origin of the Moon is a big picture question par excellence. Perhaps it makes sense that William Hartmann, one of the two scientists who unraveled the Moon's biggest mystery, is not only a scientist but also a part-time artist and science fiction writer. It took someone with an artist's eye and a fiction writer's speculative temperament to see the big picture.
This is a book about that big picture: the origin of the Moon, as interpreted by Hartmann and Alastair Cameron, the second patriarch of The Big Splat. It is also about a doomed planet called Theia, and a familiar one called Earth that used to look vastly different from today's Earth. But, most of all, it is about a long lineage of intellectual voyagers who began exploring the Moon long before Neil Armstrong planted his boot into the lunar dust.
NOTE: Some editorial changes to the original text have been made with the author’s approval.
©2003 Dana Mackenzie (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Mackenzie is a popular-science ace--magnetically readable, preternaturally clear, amazingly concise. Consider this the popular moon-science book of our times." (Booklist)
"Besides telling an interesting tale well and elucidating how science progresses, Mackenzie's book emphasizes the fact that impacts have been the primary creative and destructive process throughout the history of the Solar System." (Nature)
I was every disappointed with this book. Not because of the writing or narration but because of the content. 3/4 of the book was on the history of theories of the formation of the moon and not on the subject which the title suggests... the impact theory. The impact theory is covered in only the last 2-3 hours of the book and not in-depth till the very end. I wanted more on the theory and less on the older theories.
This is really a history of scientific theories of the moon's origins and makeup, rather than just an explanation of the current prevalent theory. Unlike an earlier reviewer, I found the history of earlier theories interesting, in that they help explain the development of the current Giant Impact theory.
What I found disappointing was the Appendix that addresses the claims of conspiracy theorists that astronauts never reached the moon. This was a very satisfying academic book and didn't need to descend to that level.
I love to re-read books with audible.
The author clearly had some funny anecdotes but the reader lacked any kind of emotional inflection.
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