1 September 2013 at 8:59 am #573281
Posted by Paul A Brierley at 08:59 on 2013 Sep 01
Just a quick heads up for Martin and his newly, published, biography of the great Sir Patrick Moore.I bought it as soon as it was available, for my Kindle Fire HD. I can’t stop reading it. It certainly is an eye opener. And a fascinating read.Well done Martin.1 January 2014 at 7:17 pm #576426
Posted by Terry Byatt at 19:17 on 2014 Jan 01
I think it’s appalling that the existence of Laura (Patrick’s girlfriend) has been "debunked" by this book. Whether it’s true or not is irrelevant. Patrick wanted us to believe his story and to publicise this barely a year after his death is to my mind unforgivable. I always thought that Martin was one of Patrick’s friends!For this reason alone I will not buy or recommend the book.5 January 2014 at 12:43 pm #576430
Posted by Phillip Hudson at 12:43 on 2014 Jan 05
I have been reading and for the most part enjoying this book but do wonder why it has to go and somehow (in my opinion ) spoil the impression of the man that I (and maybe many others) have grown up with.5 January 2014 at 3:09 pm #576431
Posted by Grant Privett at 15:09 on 2014 Jan 05
I’ve not read it and have no particular opinion about Dr Moore as we never met.Surely the purpose of any book like this is to convey a true impression of what the person was like. He was a man, and like the most of us presumably had his own loves and hates. Personally, I prefer a warts and all approach from which a balanced comprehension may be drawn.5 January 2014 at 3:39 pm #576432
Posted by Martin Mobberley at 15:39 on 2014 Jan 05
I will only be contributing one post to this thread, simply because the forum is not a place for advertising my book, and there is no such thing as bad publicity, as any author will tell you! All discussion on a publicly visible forum simply increases the book’s Google presence and therefore its sales!First, I’d like to thank those people who have sent me e-mails saying how much they have enjoyed reading the book since its publication in August. These e-mails now exceed 100 in number and originate mostly from BAA members of long standing, mainly those born in the 1950s, and those who knew Patrick well. The general response has been very similar in tone to the JBAA review by Dr Mitton and the Cloudy Nights thread on the subject.Writing a book about such a popular figure was never going to be easy, but I had plenty of advice. Most of it, from experienced authors, warned me that I would be very tempted to write a hagiography (simply hero worship) and leave out the negative stuff. But this was never my plan. Having spent more than ten years unearthing everything about Patrick there was no way I would be shoving the bad stuff under the carpet. It would be a waste of a decade of work and others would soon reveal the information anyway. I knew that others were planning biographies of Patrick too, so mine had to be released promptly. No-one would spend a decade on a project just to sit back and see less comprehensive ones be published first! Even in Patrick’s lifetime a few (such as Richard Baum and Ewen Whitaker) had dared disclose flaws in Patrick’s stories, such as the murky Mare Orientale business…..After their paper was published in the JBAA Patrick issued an apology of sorts on TV and in a JBAA letter….To omit everything negative of this type would make the biography of little historical value.Patrick will always be a hero figure to me and a man who shaped my life, but to deny he had serious flaws would make my book no more than a fan-worship book, with no real substance. It is clear from Dr Simon Mitton’s review of ‘RAF Blazer’ that he feared it might be just that…..a hagiography, but clearly he was very pleased to see that it was, instead, a comprehensive account and I had not chickened out from writing the truth, whoever it annoyed. As we all know, Patrick always spoke his mind, and I have done the same with the ‘RAF Blazer’ book.One term that keeps occurring in e-mails I have received is that this must have been a horrendous task to get the mixture right, but that ‘you have got that tricky balance dead right’. It was not easy, and the 330,000 wordswere read and re-read several dozen times before I was happy. Even so, a few other authors did tell me: "If you say anything negative about Patrick, anything at all, there will be a witch hunt and you will be lynched by the baying mob, who will have no interest in the facts….." One astronomy author told me he would never write anything negative about Patrick as "I would surely be beheaded with a meat cleaver…" Fair enough, but the baying mob has not appeared, just a daily influx of ‘thankyou’ e-mails. If a few people would prefer a book that was 100% positive about Patrick, and omitted almost everything prior to the late 1950s, then Patrick’s own book, in ’80 not out’ and ‘The autobiography’ format, is still available. The reader has a choice! Indeed, there isanother option too….the critics can write their own biography of Patrick if they prefer. I have already had half a dozen e-mails (and some letters) insisting I must write a follow-up book! Perhaps I can quote from a personal letter received from Dr Allan Chapman last week, who was a good friend of Patrick’s over many years:’Dear Martin, I really must let you know how very much I am enjoying your RAF Blazer biography of our dear late friend Sir Patrick. I think that you have struck exactly the right balance: how to write a sharp and penetratingbiography while still displaying a deep affection for the man and his fables: I did so laugh at "Tut, Tut, Naughty Patrick" regarding the RAF.’ Allan goes on to note that some of Patrick’s negative points weresimilar to those of Galileo, so he was ‘in good company’.If such a close personal friend of Patrick’s, and such a noted historian, thinks I have got the balance exactly right then I am more than happy…..Patrick’s closest friends all agree that he had some major faults, but he was such an entertainer and raconteur that it was almost impossible to dislike him, whatever he said or did!!As I say, this will be my final forum posting on this subject, but I am happy to answer (even more!) e-mails via email@example.com, even if I am currently spending about six hours a day answering queriesabout telescope problems and Patrick…..Martin7 January 2014 at 5:51 pm #576438
Posted by John Thorpe at 17:51 on 2014 Jan 07
I take Terry Byatts point re Patricks friend Laura, but my point of view is very different. Martins biography is an immensely readable account, all the more so because it is totally true to his research, not avoiding or changing any of the facts as he sees them about Patricks life. The result is an account which is both highly informative and interesting, precisely because it reveals Patrick as a real and complete human being. To me this is far more respectful to the memory of the great man than to distort or suppress facts because they may be interpreted as insufficiently reverential.I certainly do not think any the less of Patrick because he made up this story. Martin explains well what Patricks motives may have been, and I find his explanations fully understandable, and it helps me to get a better picture of Patrick.Just about every astronomer I have met acknowledges a debt to Patrick. Reading this account of his life will only strengthen that conviction, and also gives us what I am sure most of his fans want; a glimpse of what Patrick was really like.10 January 2014 at 12:50 pm #576446
Posted by Terry Byatt at 12:50 on 2014 Jan 10
I quote from Martin’s response… "there is no such thing as bad publicity". This says it all as a defense!
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