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A Man on the Moon Paperback – April 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A decade in the making, this book is based on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with each of the twenty-four moon voyagers, as well as those who contributed their brain power, training and teamwork on Earth. In his preface Chaikin writes, "We touched the face of another world and became a people without limits."

What follows are thrilling accounts of such remarkable experiences as the rush of a liftoff, the heart-stopping touchdown on the moon, the final hurdle of re-entry, competition for a seat on a moon flight, the tragic spacecraft fire, and the search for clues to the origin of the solar system on the slopes of lunar mountains.

"I've been there. Chaikin took me back."--Gene Cernan, Apollo 17 astronaut --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Scheduled to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first lunar landing on July 20, 1969, this chronicle offers a comprehensive, often penetrating look at NASA's Apollo program. Originating in 1961, when President John Kennedy told Congress that the U.S. should attempt to land a man on the moon "before this decade is out," the program's last mission ended in December, 1972, with the splashdown of Apollo 17. Diary-like reports mix with first- and third-person accounts as Chaikin, an editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, delivers a chronological view of the missions and those who planned and flew them. Focusing closely on the Apollo astronauts, including Buzz Aldrin, Pete Conrad and Neil Armstrong, Chaikin gives his topic a sense of immediacy. But his treatment, lengthy as it is, reads more like an extended magazine article. Missing is a view of Apollo in a wider context, one that captures the mythos of our efforts to land on the moon. 40,000 first printing.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140272011
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140272017
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (192 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Concerned Consumer on December 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've read this book numerous times since the first hardcover edition in 1994, and I never fail to learn something new. While there on many books on Apollo that a serious enthusiast should read, this is easily the SINGLE best book yet written. If you only ever read one book about the moon landings, then this should be it.

Chaikin is the only person to ever interview all 12 moonwalkers and get their personal feelings about everything from individual astronaut selection, crew selection, training, peer relations and best of all -- orbiting and walking on the moon. This is not a technical or scientific history, but an account of how the astronauts FELT about their entire Apollo experiences. You can easily "walk in their shoes" and "see through their eyes" with this book.

He writes in a way all persons can understand and simplifies the engineering and scientific aspects so you can understand what the astronauts were dealing with. Not only does he avoid getting bogged down in technical speak, but actually makes the technical parts fascinating to learn!

Although the moonwalkers are the primary focus of the book, Chaikin wrote a well-rounded history that encapsulates the entire Apollo story rather well. He didn't just interview moonwalkers, but also astronauts who stayed in orbit but still had valuable experiences to share. And Chaikin didn't stop there. Working as a brilliant historian should, he also spoke to the often neglected "ground people": i.e. family members, flight controllers, geologists, managers and administrators.

If you want a good summary of Project Apollo, I'd recommend four books:
"To A Rocky Moon: A Geologist's History of Lunar Exploration" - by Don Wilhems.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Chuck Johnson on December 18, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I was 2 years old when Neil Armstrong placed the first boot print on the lunar surface, and after watching Apollo 13, I became curious as to what exactly it was that got us to the moon in the first place. In 6 months time I read "Lost Moon" by Jim Lovell, "Last Man on the Moon" by Gene Cernan, "The Race", "Schirra's Space" and "Deke!".
A Man on The Moon was the last book I read, and I can speak from firsthand experience when I say that if I would have read it up first, I would have had no need to read the others. That is NOT to say that all of the other books are not good, quality reads (with maybe the exception being Schirra's book), because they certainly are, but Andy Chaikin left absolutely nothing to the imagination and almost no stone unturned when he penned this exciting and informative book.
Even though I was just a toddler when our exploration of the lunar surface began, thanks to Andy Chaikin, I don't feel that I missed a single thing.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Mitch Reed on June 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you liked the HBO series "From The Earth To The Moon", you must read this book. Such a detailed account of the astronauts and the missions does not exist else where. Each mission is described separately, in great prose. A must buy for all serious space readers.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 2, 1999
Format: Paperback
Whether you are old enough to personally recollect the days of Apollo or if you were "born too late", the illustrated edition of Andrew Chaikin's, A MAN ON THE MOON is an essential book to own. Chaikin's uncanny ability to put you behind the eyes of the participants in humanity's greatest adventure, coupled with a collection of beautiful photos and illustrations, make this illustrated edition more like a "ticket to the moon" than any other work yet produced on the topic of spaceflight.
The historical accuracy of the author's narrative makes this an essential reference shelf item as well. Chaikin interviewed all of the Apollo moonwalkers and all of the key figures alive at the time of it's writing. The recollections and interesting details relayed by Chaikin are not to be found in any other work. Chaikin has turned his collection of interviews and research items into a dramatic and bold story as interesting and arresting as any work of fiction ever produced. It is no mystery why Tom Hanks was so inspired by Chaikin's writing, that he set out to produce HBO's FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, the most expensive and elaborate mini-series production to date.
This book goes way above and beyond what you would normally think of as a "good read". I find it quite easy to pick up these volumes and randomly start reading from any of it's pages. Chaikin also reveals the more human side of the very special people who took us to the moon and made President John F. Kennedy's dreams of lunar conquest come true. reading this book will help you understand what made people like Alan Shepard tick or why Neil Armstrong is often misunderstood by the press and his collegues.
A MAN ON THE MOON should be on the bookshelf of everyone who claims a sense of adventure, curiosity, or history.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rogera Sauterer on June 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The 3 volume boxed set of "A Man on the Moon" is perhaps the best book on the Apollo program ever published. Not only does it have the complete text of the original "a Man on the Moon", which was a great description of what it was like to fly on the Apollo missions, though lacking in both technical details and Apollo development history, but it is graced with hundreds of beautiful photos and a number of sidebars describing aspects of the moon program. Even if you have the original hardbound or paperback edition, buy this....its worth every penny and then some. I've spent many hours just leafing through it (I read the original years ago). If you or someone you know has the slightest interest in the moon landings, this is the book!
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