The focus of this work concerns a series of 1835 New York Sun articles that convinced many of that newspaper's readers that the moon was inhabited. Goodman (Jewish Food: The World at Table) gives the context of the time while also providing a look at the life of Richard Adams Locke, who wrote and published these stories, and such figures as P.T. Barnum and Edgar Allan Poe. Malcolm Hillgartner (The Reagan I Knew) reads with great energy and enthusiasm. Public libraries may wish to consider this one. [Audio clip available through www.blackstoneaudio.com; the Basic Books hc was described as more likely to appeal "to the general reader than to the academic," LJ 9/15/08.-Ed.]-Michael T. Fein, Central Virginia Community Coll. Lib., Lynchburg Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
Goodman offers a highly atmospheric account of a hoax that he says reflects the birth of tabloid journalism and New York City's emergence as a city with worldwide influence. In August 1835, New York Sun editor Richard Adams Locke wrote and published a hoax about a newfangled telescope that revealed fantastic images of the moon, including poppy fields, waterfalls and blue skies. Animals from unicorns to horned bears inhabited the moon, but most astonishing were the four-foot-tall "man-bats" who talked, built temples and fornicated in public. The sensational moon hoax was reprinted across America and Europe. Edgar Allan Poe grumbled that the tale had been cribbed from one of his short stories; Sun owner Benjamin Day saw his paper become the most widely read in the world; and a pre-eminent British astronomer complained that his good name had been linked to those "incoherent ravings." Goodman (Jewish Food) offers a richly detailed and engrossing glimpse of the birth of tabloid journalism in an antebellum New York divided by class, ethnicity and such polarizing issues as slavery, religion and intellectual freedom. B&w illus. (Nov.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.