Our Moon: How Earth's Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are (Hardcover)
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • “A riveting feat of science writing that recasts that most familiar of celestial objects into something eerily extraordinary, pivotal to our history, and awesome in the original sense of the word.”—Ed Yong, New York Times bestselling author of An Immense World
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
Many of us know that the Moon pulls on our oceans, driving the tides, but did you know that it smells like gunpowder? Or that it was essential to the development of science and religion? Acclaimed journalist Rebecca Boyle takes readers on a dazzling tour to reveal the intimate role that our 4.51-billion-year-old companion has played in our biological and cultural evolution.
Our Moon’s gravity stabilized Earth’s orbit—and its climate. It drew nutrients to the surface of the primordial ocean, where they fostered the evolution of complex life. The Moon continues to influence animal migration and reproduction, plants’ movements, and, possibly, the flow of the very blood in our veins.
While the Sun helped prehistoric hunters and gatherers mark daily time, early civilizations used the phases of the Moon to count months and years, allowing them to plan farther ahead. Mesopotamian priests recorded the Moon’s position in order to make predictions, and, in the process, created the earliest known empirical, scientific observations. In Our Moon, Boyle introduces us to ancient astronomers and major figures of the scientific revolution, including Johannes Kepler and his influential lunar science fiction.
Our relationship to the Moon changed when Apollo astronauts landed on it in 1969, and it’s about to change again. As governments and billionaires aim to turn a profit from its resources, Rebecca Boyle shows us that the Moon belongs to everybody, and nobody at all.
About the Author
Rebecca Boyle is a columnist at Atlas Obscura and a contributor to Scientific American, Quanta Magazine, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Popular Science, Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine, and many other publications. She is a member of the group science blog The Last Word on Nothing. Boyle was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the recipient of numerous writing awards. Her work has been anthologized three times in The Best American Science & Nature Writing. She is a former Space Camp attendee and lifelong Moon enthusiast.
“I learned more about the Moon by reading this book than I have in a lifetime of study. Replete with fascinating insights into the Moon’s origins and history, but more than that, what it has meant to us, the people of Earth, Our Moon is a must-read for anyone who has looked up at the Moon in wonder.”—Chris Hadfield, astronaut, bestselling author of The Apollo Murders and The Defector
“An excellent exploration of how the moon has shaped life on Earth . . . [Rebecca] Boyle’s dexterous blend of science and cultural history is elevated by her spry prose. This illuminates.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Epic in scope—and almost poetic in its narrative beauty—Our Moon will change how you think about our planet, the Moon, and ourselves.”—Neil Shubin, author of Your Inner Fish
“Glinting with intriguing facts and fascinating connections, Our Moon reveals the astoundingly intimate relations between the closest heavenly body, the Earth, and all life as we know it. Boyle’s writing shines, shifting through time and space, science and sentiment—a luminous read.”—Rebecca Wragg Sykes, author of Kindred
“In telling the tale of Earth’s oldest companion, Boyle offers an absorbing account of the human experience. Deftly written with a poet’s precision and scientific sensibility, Our Moon establishes Boyle as one of the preeminent nature writers of our time.”—David W. Brown, author of The Mission
“With a remarkable command of planetary science and human history, Boyle provides a sweeping, lyrical account of our cosmic neighbor.”—Peter Brannen, author of The Ends of the World
“This vivid and moving exploration of the Moon’s impact shows how influential the pockmarked orb has always been. Past and present collide, and science and storytelling become one, as Boyle draws Earth’s nearest neighbor closer to its inhabitants.”—Sarah Scoles, author of Making Contact