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An astonishing book!,
This review is from: It Came From Outer Space Wearing an RAF Blazer!: A Fan's Biography of Sir Patrick Moore (Kindle Edition)
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.
What can you say about Martin Mobberley's biograhpy of Sir Patrick Moore? In these modern times superlatives are used so regularly and so commonly that their real meaning has been devalued. But there are so many superlatives that could be rightfully and accurately used about this book.
To begin with, it is a staggeringly painstaking and minutely detailed account of the great man's life, from his birth in 1923 to his tragic death in 2012. Unless you were very close indeed to Patrick I guarantee that there will be things revealed by the author that will surprise you! Every aspect of Patrick's life is documented and examined in exquisite detail. Some myths are debunked (I will say no more!).
Martin is a self-proclaimed "fan" of the subject of this work. You might be forgiven therefore for expecting it to be a sycophantic praising of everything Sir Patrick achieved (and there were a LOT of things he achieved!), with anything slightly "dodgy" or less than perfect swiftly brushed under the carpet or simply never mentioned. You would be wrong. The author has no hesitation in pointing out aspects of the man's personality which were, well, human. Modern politically correct individuals will cringe at the description of Patrick's racism and misogyny. But it was part of him and so it needed to be described. Likewise, Patrick sometimes embellished the truth or simply lied! Martin documents it all, faithfully. The inside information on the power struggles and politics going on with the BAA and Patrick's dogged determination to believe in transient lunar phenomena (TLP) and the volcanic origin of the Moon's craters make fascinating reading.
Since I finished the book I feel a gap in my life somehow. Every night for the last two and a bit months I've looked forward to the next chapter or two. Now it's back to reading ordinary stuff which all frankly seems a bit dull by comparison!
So in summary, I can't recommend this book highly enough. It grabs your attention from the first chapter and the author's easy, sometimes very humourous, style holds it captive. Beware - the last few chapters which document in gut-wrenching detail Sir Patrick's declining health are quite hard to read and at times I felt a lump in my throat as I imagined the despair that a great personality which had become trapped in a useless body must be feeling. Thankfully, the huge generosity which the man had shown to his friends throughout his life was repaid by some of those friends in his hour of need.
If you have ANY interest in astronomy and the man who was "Mr. Astronomy" for more than half a century then read this book. You will not regret it.