University of Chicago Press, 2024
Cloth: 978-0-226-83651-5

The first book to combine exquisite cartographical charts of the Moon with a thorough exploration of the Moon’s role in popular culture, science, and myth.
President John F. Kennedy’s rousing “We will go to the Moon” speech in 1961 before the US Congress catalyzed the celebrated Apollo program, spurring the US Geological Survey’s scientists to map the Moon. Over the next eleven years a team of twenty-two, including a dozen illustrator-cartographers, created forty-four charts that forever changed the path of space exploration.
For the first time, each of those beautifully hand-drawn, colorful charts is presented together in one stunning book. In Lunar, National Air and Space Museum curator Matthew Shindell’s expert commentary accompanies each chart, along with the key geological characteristics and interpretations that were set out in the original Geologic Atlas of the Moon. Interwoven throughout the book are contributions from scholars devoted to studying the multifaceted significance of the Moon to humankind around the world. Traveling from the Stone Age to the present day, they explore a wide range of topics: the prehistoric lunar calendar; the role of the Moon in creation myths of Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome; the role of the Moon in astrology; the importance of the Moon in establishing an Earth-centered solar system; the association of the Moon with madness and the menstrual cycle; how the Moon governs the tides; and the use of the Moon in surrealist art.
Combining a thoughtful retelling of the Moon’s cultural associations throughout history with the beautifully illustrated and scientifically accurate charting of its surface, Lunar is a stunning celebration of the Moon in all its guises.

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