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American history
The Sun and the Moon: The Remarkable True Account of Hoaxers, Showmen, Dueling Journalists, and Lunar Man-Bats in Nineteenth-Century New York
 
 
Author
Matthew Goodman.
Publisher Basic Books  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 9 x 5.75 x 0.95 inches
ISBN 9780465019007
Pages/Publication Date 350/2008
Daedalus Item Code 23414
This item is not available.
Description
On August 26, 1835, a fledgling New York newspaper called the Sun published the first accounts of remarkable lunar discoveries in a series of six articles reported the existence of life on the moon—including unicorns, beavers that walked on their hind legs, and four-foot-tall flying man-bats. In a matter of weeks the New York Sun became the most widely read paper in the world. Matthew Goodman's entertaining history depicts a crew of writers, editors, and charlatans who stumbled on a new kind of journalism in a city on the cusp of greatness, and how the "penny papers" soon made America a nation of newspaper readers.

"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 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."—Publishers Weekly

 
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