I’m a big fan of the Moon, so this book very much appealed to me. It’s a science book which also touches upon economics, politics, science fiction and the author’s opinions.
The writing style of this book is quite strange. Sometimes the author explains theories and scientific facts in a straightforward way. Sometimes he goes off on a tangent. Sometimes he seems to wander through a dream world and forgets he’s writing a book that people might actually want to understand. It’s certainly unusual, but it doesn’t always make sense. I enjoyed some chapters more than others. The quality of my reading experience varied so much. The low point was probably when Elon Musk was discussed and despite admiration of his achievements being expressed, described as a ‘prick’ several times (the author has met him). I felt that incidents like this lowered the tone. I also thought there was too much emphasis on Robert Heinlein’s book The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. While we are on the subject of books, someone needs to tell Oliver Morton or his editor that book titles should be in italics and not quotation marks. It was very annoying to see this basic error throughout. Someone else must have compiled the reference list, however, as the titles are correct there.
I found the chapter on the Apollo missions to be the most engaging. It was also brilliant to learn things about the Moon that I didn’t know before, particularly its geology and the theories about its formation. Generally I did like this book. There are some really thought-provoking paragraphs and an interesting use of imagery in the more lyrical moments. There are a few diagrams but no photographs. If you just want facts and lovely pictures of the Moon, then this isn’t the book for you. I suspect that there’s nothing else out there like this book right now. The content is slightly out of date already as it was written in 2018 and mentions events which may take place in 2019, but I would think that it’s still the most up to date commercially-published book about the Moon and the practicalities of future missions.
First published in 2019. This edition published in 2020.