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It Came From Outer Space Wearing an RAF Blazer!: A Fan's Biography of Sir Patrick Moore [Paperback]

Martin Mobberley
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Aug 2013 3319006088 978-3319006086 2013
To British television viewers, the name ‘Patrick Moore’ has been synonymous with Astronomy and Space Travel since he first appeared on The Sky at Night in 1957. To amateur astronomers he has been a source of inspiration, joy, humour and even an eccentric role model since that time. Most people know that his 55 years of presenting The Sky at Night is a world record, but what was he really like in person?  What did he do away from the TV cameras, in his observatory, and within the British Astronomical Association, the organisation that inspired him as a youngster? Also, precisely what did he do during the War Years, a subject that has always been shrouded in mystery? Martin Mobberley, a friend of Patrick Moore’s for 30 years, and a former President of the British Astronomical Association, has spent ten years exhaustively researching Patrick’s real life away from the TV cameras. His childhood, RAF service, tireless voluntary work for astronomy and charity and his endless book writing are all examined in detail. His astronomical observations are also examined in unprecedented detail, along with the battles he fought along the way and his hatred of bureaucracy and political correctness. No fan of Sir Patrick Moore can possibly live without this work on their bookshelf!

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Product details

  • Paperback: 655 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2013 edition (5 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3319006088
  • ISBN-13: 978-3319006086
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

To British television viewers, the name ‘Patrick Moore’ has been synonymous with Astronomy and Space Travel since he first appeared on The Sky at Night in 1957. To amateur astronomers he has been a source of inspiration, joy, humour and even an eccentric role model since that time. Most people know that his 55 years of presenting The Sky at Night is a world record, but what was he really like in person?  What did he do away from the TV cameras, in his observatory, and within the British Astronomical Association, the organisation that inspired him as a youngster? Also, precisely what did he do during the War Years, a subject that has always been shrouded in mystery? Martin Mobberley, a friend of Patrick Moore’s for 30 years, and a former President of the British Astronomical Association, has spent ten years exhaustively researching Patrick’s real life away from the TV cameras. His childhood, RAF service, tireless voluntary work for astronomy and charity and his endless book writing are all examined in detail. His astronomical observations are also examined in unprecedented detail, along with the battles he fought along the way and his hatred of bureaucracy and political correctness. No fan of Sir Patrick Moore can possibly live without this work on their bookshelf!

About the Author

Martin Mobberley holds a BSc in Electronic Engineering from Brunel University and worked as an electronics/software engineer for Marconi for 22 years. He is the author of eight practical astronomy books for Springer, as well as three small children’s space books with Top That! Publishing. He has authored over 300 articles for Astronomy Now, The Journal of the British Astronomical Association, BBC Sky at Night and various other publications. He is the author of the Comet, Eclipse and Minor Planet sections of Macmillan’s ‘Patrick Moore Yearbook of Astronomy’ and the former president of the British Astronomical Association (BAA). Martin was the BAA Goodacre Medal winner of 2000 and appeared as a guest on Patrick Moore’s Sky at Night TV program a total of ten times. He was a personal friend of Sir Patrick Moore for 30 years.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent tribute to a great man 22 Aug 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What a magnificent biography! Nothing turgid here. Martin Mobberley has written a "warts and all" life of one of our greatest citizens, one who graced our screens and whose works lined our library shelves for over half a century. It was always going to be difficult to balance the private life of an individual with that persona known to millions. However, as Martin accurately informs us in his biography, Patrick's life was an open book. He was the most generous of human beings, whilst never concealing his beliefs and attitudes. Be prepared for some revelations,some of which may not be flavour of the moment, but at the end of this read, Patrick is still the Patrick we loved over the years. Accurate and thoughtful revelations do not damage a reputation built on such a secure footing. Just take in what Patrick did for charities over the years. The author mentions them throughout the book. Also, Patrick's outstanding generosity, even to complete strangers, rises to the surface so often during the story of his life.

Martins's wonderful book is the result of over a decade of careful research, during which time he managed to interview many of those whose lives were touched in some way by Patrick. I know, I was one of them. Patrick for me was a hero of the first magnitude. His generosity was legendary and his influence far greater than he could ever have known. Martin's reports are always humorous, when appropriate, and as far as I can tell, they ring true with the Patrick known to so many.

The book is nicely produced, but why there is not a hardback option I cannot fathom. It contains some good photographs, covering the decades of Patrick's life very well. The front cover illustration is also well chosen. It captures Patrick's presence so perfectly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patrick Moore, warts n all. 29 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Martin Mobberley has done a superb job in researching and writing this book. Patrick was no saint but this book is true to his memory as a warm, generous man and a superb communicator. Perhaps published a bit too close in time following Patrick's death in December 2012 to be a definitive biography but certainly describes the Patrick Moore that I knew as an astronomer and socially over 45 years. A later edition could perhaps be better edited to tighten the narrative and avoid many repetitions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mobberley's biography of Patrick Moore 6 Oct 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This must have been decades in the drafting. Warts & all. I knew PM fairly well, and this biography is well researched, based on numerous personal contacts over a 30+ year period. It provides some illuminating insights it his life, and his at times over-bearing prejudices. Good to have the record put straight.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read - difficult to put down 8 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Martin Mobberley's book lifts the lid on the enigma that was (and still is) Sir Patrick Moore.

Like all of the author's other books this is well researched, well written and often contains the dry humour that the author is known for.

Perhaps no one else can could have written such a book as Martin was very close to the centre of things - certainly in the latter years. A comment in another review that this book might be cashing in on the passing of the great man (in every sense of the term) is unfounded. It is a warts and all story - what a good biography should be about.

It is laid out well. I found it a very easy book to dip into and difficult to put down once I was in there. Events are laid out chronologically and the chapters are laid out in small easy bite sections that can be read in short bursts.

For many amateur astronomers like the author (and this reviewer) Patrick was the embodiment of amateur astronomy that drove hundreds, perhaps thousands of people to take up the hobby.

Patrick was a uniquely British phenomenon but that should not deter overseas readers (the English speaking parts of the world anyway) from learning about a tireless promoter for amateur astronomy and learn something about the man that he was.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An in depth look at a fascinating man 17 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This book certainly isn't for those looking for an easy or quick read. Its also not a biography that just covers everything good about the man. This deeply in-depth look at Patrick Moore's life is incredibly detailed, covering every aspect of his life and leaves no stone unturned.

Overall it is an interesting read. My only gripe would be that it does ramble somewhat and go off on irrelevant tangents at times but it still remains, and will likely remain the most comprehensive account of the life of this remarkable man.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive Patrick Moore biography? 3 Sep 2013
By Mike F
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm sure that there will be several biographies of Sir Patrick Moore, the long-time presenter of the BBC's Sky at Night programme, who died in December 2012. Martin Mobberley is first off the mark with "It Came From Outer Space Wearing an RAF Blazer!: A Fan's Biography of Sir Patrick Moore" and I'm pleased to say Martin's book stakes a good claim to be the definitive volume. Martin, an ex-president of the British Astronomical Association, was a long-time friend of Sir Patrick, and a fellow lunar observer. There are few people better qualified to assess Patrick's legacy in the amateur astronomical community.

But the real strength of the book is that Martin has cut through the mythology which has built up around a very public figure. Patrick was a great raconteur, never short of a story, and over the years the tales he told of his earlier life have grown; he was also mischievous and not above creating fictitious alter-egos. Many of his stories - to take one example, Patrick accompanying on the piano as Einstein played the violin - were repeated uncritically in his obituaries. Martin carefully examines the claims one-by-one and debunks the myths; and there were a lot of them. It may be that Martin has unfairly dismissed a true story here or there, but I'd be surprised if that happened often.

This book is not a hagiography, but nor is it in any way a hatchet job. Patrick was a larger-than-life character who held some extreme views (verging on racism and misogyny) and could bear grudges for decades; but he was also a charming, gregarious and generous man who was unstinting in his help for his fellow astronomers, especially beginners and youngsters. Above all he was an observer, who enjoyed the company of other observers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling
A fascinating insight into the life of a man we thought we knew so much about. Very comprehensively researched and excellently assembled. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Dr. J. Dawson
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book!
I will keep this short, as all the previous reviews published here cover what I have to say. Its just that I was so impressed with this book, that it would have been an injustice... Read more
Published 2 months ago by s.p.holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifting the lid on the real Patrick
I believe Martin Mobberley's account is superb. With Patrick Moore's autobiography of 2003 ('80 Not Out') being thoroughly incomplete, it has been a brave decision by Martin... Read more
Published 2 months ago by A rhythm person
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining journey through an icon's life!
Only half way through Martin's excellent book but thoroughly enjoying the ride!. Its comforting to know that my astronomical hero was a mere mortal like the rest of us with all our... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars An impressive effort by a fan who doesn't hide the warts
I found this book surprisingly interesting despite the rather detailed account of every meeting of the BAA, every telescope, etc. Read more
Published 3 months ago by alapper
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing book!
When I heard that this book had been written it went straight on to my Christmas list! Thankfully, Santa came good and I have been reading it ever since. Read more
Published 4 months ago by T. D. Kearsley
5.0 out of 5 stars The most detailed book on Sir Patrick Moore's life you could wish to...
This is a superb book from start to finish regardless of whether you are interested in astronomy to any great degree or not. Read more
Published 7 months ago by R ISHERWOOD
5.0 out of 5 stars A very Intriguing insight into all aspects of Sir Patrick Moores life
A very interesting book from many Angles I found, You could read this book from start to finish, but personally I could not help dipping into certain areas of Patricks life at a... Read more
Published 8 months ago by BessieF
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