The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-bats in Nineteenth-century New York

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Basic Books, 2008 - History - 350 pages
23 Reviews
The Sun and the Moontells the delightful, entertaining, and surprisingly true story of how in the summer of 1835 a series of articles in theSun, the first of the city’s “penny papers,” convinced the citizens of New York that the moon was inhabited.

Six articles, purporting to reveal the lunar discoveries made by a world-famous British astronomer, described the life found on the moon—including unicorns, beavers that walked upright, and, strangest of all, four-foot-tall flying man-bats. The series quickly became the most widely circulated newspaper story of the era. And theSun, a brash working-class upstart less than two years old, had become the most widely read newspaper in the world.

Told in richly novelistic detail,The Sun and the Moonbrings the raucous world of 1830s New York City vividly to life—the noise, the excitement, the sense that almost anything was possible. The book overflows with larger-than-life characters, including Richard Adams Locke, author of the moon series (who never intended it to be a hoax at all); a fledgling showman named P.T. Barnum, who had just brought his own hoax to New York; and the young writer Edgar Allan Poe, who was convinced that the moon series was a plagiarism of his own work.

An exhilarating narrative history of a city on the cusp of greatness and a nation newly united by affordable newspapers,The Sun and the Moonmay just be the strangest true story you’ve ever read.

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Review: The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York

User Review  - Fraser Sherman - Goodreads

In 1835, New York's two-year-old first "penny paper" (the others cost six cents) ran a series of articles supposedly recounting a report by the great astronomer Sir John Herschel and how his new super ... Read full review

Review: The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York

User Review  - Deborah - Goodreads

Lots of interesting tidbits about 1830's New York City. (I now know where the name Herald Square came from.) It also proved that there really is a sucker born every minute!! Read full review

About the author (2008)

Matthew Goodman’s nonfiction writing has appeared in The Forward, the American Scholar, Harvard Review, Brill’s Content, and the Utne Reader. His short stories have appeared in leading literary journals, including the Georgia Review, the New England Review, and Witness. He received an M.F.A. from Vermont College. He is a lifetime New Yorker and lives with his wife and children in New York City.

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