by Bernd Brunner
Yale University Press, $25.00, 304 pages

The moon, for the ancients probably the oddest and most confounding thing in the night sky, has since been explored, explained, and mapped. However, one cannot help but be fascinated by the accounts and beliefs of our ancestors, many of whom were inspired by the moon.

Bernd Brunner in Moon: A Brief History recounts many of the fascinating associations that people find with the moon. A bit jumpy, all the trivia presented does not tell a story. But one will find here a feast of historical connection and reactions to the moon. In the past, interested scientists, writers, mappers with the latest technology (new telescopes), and dreamers were all fascinated by the moon. Many cultures speculated and told stories about the moon.

Sadly though, the former President George Bush’s plan of sending us back to the moon appears unlikely as we cannot still afford it and other things have become more interesting. There is Mars, the oceans Europa, and asteroids within landing-sight now. This was not always the case, as Brunner shows. The result is that the moon has been preserved as a wilderness with laws that require it to remain so until we all can get our global act together here on the Earth.
Reviewed by Ryder Miller