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Moon Shot: The Inside Story of America's Apollo Moon Landings [Kindle Edition]

Alan Shepard , Deke Slayton , Jay Barbree , Neil Armstrong , Howard Benedict
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A revised edition of the New York Times bestselling classic: the epic story of the golden years of American space exploration, told by the men who rode the rockets

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik I, and the space race was born. Desperate to beat the Russians into space, NASA put together a crew of the nation’s most daring test pilots: the seven men who were to lead America to the moon. The first into space was Alan Shepard; the last was Deke Slayton, whose irregular heartbeat kept him grounded until 1975. They spent the 1960s at the forefront of NASA’s effort to conquer space, and Moon Shot is their inside account of what many call the twentieth century’s greatest feat—landing humans on another world.
Collaborating with NBC’s veteran space reporter Jay Barbree, Shepard and Slayton narrate in gripping detail the story of America’s space exploration from the time of Shepard’s first flight until he and eleven others had walked on the moon.

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Shepard and the late Slayton, two of the original Mercury astronauts, here team up with two veteran space reporters to produce a firsthand account of the space program's early days. The narrative is at its best when it focuses on the astronauts' flight experiences-Shepard's brief Mercury flight, his lunar landing mission ten years later, and Slayton's long-delayed trip into space aboard the last Apollo mission in 1975. On the down side, its use of re-created conversations that pass as exposition weaken the narrative, making it sound more like a screenplay prospectus than a space history. For example, it is doubtful that John Glenn had to explain to his fellow astronauts what the Saturn launch vehicle was. One comes away wishing for more insight into what it was like to walk on the moon and less about the astronauts' pranks and peccadillos. Still, with the book's publication timed to coincide with this July's 25th anniversary of the first manned lunar landing, this title may see some demand.
--Thomas Frieling, Bainbridge Coll., Ga.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

It's hard to believe, but most teens and people in their early twenties don't remember Americans walking on the moon. This book, written lovingly by two of the most respected astronauts in U.S. history, will remedy that. Journalists Jay Barbree and Howard Benedict organized the material, and they portray Shepard and Slayton as two close friends who shared the dream of many children of the 1960s: to fly in outer space. Sadly, Shepard, after becoming the first American in space in a mere hour's trip, developed inner ear problems that prevented him from going back, and Slayton's irregular heartbeat kept him from going at all. Meanwhile, President Kennedy escalated the space race to get a leg up on the Russians. Despite covering some of the same ground as Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff, Shepard and Slayton vividly portray the great bond uniting the original Mercury Seven. The most terrifying chapter describes the fire on the launchpad that killed three Apollo 1 astronauts, but problems on many flights (unbeknownst to TV viewers) were only solved by the skill of the astronauts as pilots. Shepard and Slayton are emphatic about environmental issues (having seen the Earth from a unique viewpoint), and Shepard's eventual moon shot is only topped by Slayton's emotional reaction to being cleared to fly the Apollo-Soyuz mission to dock with Russian cosmonauts, with whom he became fast friends. Expect much demand. Joe Collins

Product Details

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Superficial and disappointing March 16, 2000
First, so you know, I'm a lifelong fan of the space program. I was five years old when Apollo 11 landed, and, like many of that age, caught a feverish interest in space travel and the people who actually did what I dreamed of doing.
I'm not saying that to claim a special expertise on the topic, but to confess that I'm far from impartial when reviewing a book like this. The fact is, I'd probably find Frank Borman's grocery list or John Young's dog's veterinary records intensely fascinating.
More's the pity, since I can't say the same for Moon Shot. Other reviewers have noted that the authors seem to have been unable to make up their minds whether they were writing a history of the space program, or a joint autobiography. Because of this, it fails at both. The coverage of the space program is haphazard, focusing on the authors' accomplishments while ignoring many other significant people and events. As a biography, Moon Shot leaves much to be desired, giving little information on Shepard's or Slayton's backgrounds, reasons for becoming astronauts, etc. If you're looking for an astronaut autobiography and a detailed account of part of Project Apollo, Jim Lovell's book, Lost Moon, does a much better job of putting both in one package.
Moon Shot does not go in depth into what it does cover. Instead, the major parts of each event are duly recited, and the narrative goes no further. Worse, the book breaks no new ground, either. When I bought Moon Shot, I expected that, since I would be reading recollections of people who directly participated in Project Apollo, I would be treated to unusual viewpoints and to information not readily available elsewhere. But, at no time while reading the book was I surprised.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
By Ron2112
Format:Kindle Edition with Audio/Video|Verified Purchase
So, having read and loved the first edition of this book that came out way back in 1994, I jumped when I saw the new release, hyped to include new A/V content. But was definitely disappointed to discover that the A/V content amounts to only six short video clips embedded in the text of the book. The content of the clips themselves was nice, but I was expecting more. On the positive side, it doesn't cost any more than the regular Kindle edition, and the actual text of the book works on both my iPad and my "regular" Kindle. (The traditional Kindle just doesn't display the A/V clips).

This still remains a wonderful book, which is why I give it four stars. Just don't expect a huge amount of A/V in this edition.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has its moments that are pretty good October 28, 2006
I re-visited this book, which I read (and got autographed by Shepard) when it was new, after watching the great "From the Earth to the Moon" series again. The book has its four-star moments, but I settled for three.

The content is not particularly sophisticated, and to be honest, the competition among the Apollo books is strong. For example, books by Lovell and Cernan are both better than this one. Even so, it's worth reading by students of the space program for the additional perspective and occasion detail.

Perhaps a root problem is that the book is a mixture of autobiography and story of the space program, with the perspective of the two astronauts not given very often. When that happened effectively, the book was at its best. I liked stories such as NASA's attempt to keep secret who had gotten the first flight, Deke's grounding, Shepard's return to flight status, Apollo 14, and Deke's reaction to the Apollo 1 fire. There are several scenes like that, enough to make the book worthwhile.

In contrast, some other incidents had superfluous reference to the authors. I didn't really care that Deke and Al sort-of high-fived each other when Apollo 11 landed. Their thoughts on the end of the Apollo program or what the program really meant to them aren't really captured. Few insightful comments about the other astronauts were made (unlike Cernan's book). Many opportunities were lost.

The Apollo-Soyuz mission is presented as a relatively big deal, which it was to Deke, obviously. In reality, it was pretty meaningless, other than as an exercise in international cooperation.

Deke comes across pretty well in other books and in the "From the Earth to the Moon" series. His character shines at times here, too.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Massive opportunity missed. August 30, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you only read one book about the moon program, make sure it's not this one.

Jay Barbree comes across as a tabloid hack who is more interested in sensationalism than facts. His method of simply inventing conversations and reactions borders on the ridiculous.

The book is not a step-by-step guide through Mercury/Gemini/Apollo, but it's also not an in-depth story on Alan Shepard and Deke Slayton. It's as though the authors couldn't decide which way to go with the book, and ended up meeting none of the objectives.

Having access to Shepard and Slayton SHOULD have resulted in a book that was the definitive story of the American space program from its inception. Unfortunately the opportunity was lost.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is based on the original (1994) hardback edition. This book is much more than a history of the space program from about 1957 to 1975. It includes the inspirational determination for Shepard to fly again and for Slayton to fly even once. I had the pleasure of meeting Alan Shepard and getting his autograph on this book.

The book captures the intensity of the space race. When Shepard saw Sputnik 1 (or, more probably, the upper-level rocket stage also in orbit), he chagrined at the fact that it didn't have "Made in the USA" written on it. Later, the Soviets were sad that the men circling the moon on Christmas Eve 1968 didn't have Russian names.

Some seldom-discussed information is provided in this book. For instance, the US could have orbited a satellite over a year before Sputnik (p. 45). Were it not for an overcautious NASA, Shepard could have beat Gagarin into space by a month (p. 89, 91). The dog, Laika, is said to have lived for several days in space (p. 44). We now know that she died several hours after launch--from an overheated cabin.

The authors discuss the politics behind the space program. For instance, the grounding of Deke Slayton had been for political and not medical reasons, as there was no evidence that Deke's heart irregularity would interfere with space flight. Rather, the fear was that, were Slayton's flight to end in disaster for any reason, his heart condition would automatically be suspected, and those who cleared him for flight would face automatic recrimination. The authors also allege that politics was behind the choice of Houston as the site for the Space Center.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good historical view
Lots oc interesting details in the space race that werent public info at the time. Fun getting the scoop again. Entertaining read
Published 18 days ago by mark twain
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Good read about a fantastic era.
Sad to read now knowing our space program is virtually dead or handed over to the billionaire privateers. It was an incredible time to be an American - true explorers. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Ian Corrigall
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight into the astronaut culture, and a behind the scenes...
Based on the original book by Alan Shepherd and Deke Slayton, this book offers excellent insights into what it was like to "be" part of America's Space Program. Read more
Published 1 month ago by commonsense....
2.0 out of 5 stars My God! It's full of errors!
Disappointed by this book. There are numerous factual and print errors. The narrative skips important events and downplays others. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Obviousman
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable history of moon landings
Written by two astronauts (actually Deke Slayton died before book was published) and a journalist, this book is a good history of NASA up until Apollo flights stopped going to the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by R. Martenis
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must Read"for space enthusiasts
I have read many books about the race to the moon between the former Soviet Union and the USA. This one gave me a different perspective being co authored by two of the original... Read more
Published 3 months ago by gaumondd
5.0 out of 5 stars None Better
It doesn't get much better than coming straight from Slayton and Shepard's mouths. The book is great. The movie is great.
Published 3 months ago by Dr. Matthew W. Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
Just became one of my favorite books! An inside report of the american space program, specially the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Augusto
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic real story of our hereos
Well written with behind the scene details. Having grown up in this era it was exciting to relive it again through the astronauts eyes.
Published 4 months ago by MB
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book with a few flaws
I have to say I enjoyed Moon Shot tremendously. It really felt like an inside story with bits about the Apollo program that you can only get from the people who actually lived... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Bence Vágvölgyi
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