Shelfari edited the description of The Sun and the Moon Sunday, August 2, 2009.
The remarkable true story of the hoax that bewildered Nineteenth-Century New York and created tabloid journalism. In the sweltering summer of 1835, New York City, still reeling from the effects of a cholera epidemic, was coaxed into a mood approaching mass hysteria by a series of articles in the Sun , the first of New York City's penny papers. Seven articles, purporting to be the first report of the lunar discoveries made by a world-famous British astronomer, described in astonishing detail the existence of life on the moon--birds, buffalo, one-horned zebras, and four-foot-tall man bats. Intended as a satirical attack on the religious philosophers of the day, "The Moon Hoax" became the most widely circulated newspaper story in the world. And the Sun , a brash working-class upstart paper less than two years old, became the most widely read newspaper in the world, giving birth to a media revolution in the New World and a brand of tabloid journalism that prevails today. The Sun and the Moon overflows with larger than life characters--known and unknown to modern readers, including Richard Adams Locke, British radical turned newspaper editor and creator of the hoax; a young, upwardly mobile, and ever industrious P. T. Barnum; and the fledgling editor of the Southern Literary Messenger , a fellow named Edgar Allan Poe. These three men, along with countless others, have parts to play in the delightful, entertaining, and surprisingly true story of how the Moon Hoax captivated New Yorkers and ultimately triggered the birth of the modern newspaper business.