Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth by Robert Poole - review by John Gribbin

John Gribbin

Destination Moon

Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth

By

Yale University Press 236pp £18.99 order from our bookshop
 

This is a great idea for a book, but imperfectly executed; witness the irritating use of a partially italicized title. Robert Poole’s uncontentious theme is that humankind’s (he prefers ‘man’s’) view of ourselves and our home in the Universe was altered by the images of the Earth from space, especially those obtained by the Apollo astronauts. The image of the Earth rising over the horizon of the barren Moon, shining like a blue marble (or, in Carl Sagan’s words, a ‘pale blue dot’), adorned many students’ bedrooms in the 1970s, and helped to provide the impetus for the Green movement. It is a story worth telling, but it deserves a better treatment than this.

The most telling example of the failure of imagination that has gripped the publishers is the lack of any colour illustrations inside the book. Poole quite rightly maintains in his text that the reason why these images made such a dramatic impact was that they were in colour, with the

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