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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
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 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.

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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
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Superficial and disappointing March 16, 2000
Format:Hardcover
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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Massive opportunity missed. August 30, 2011
By BSG
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has its moments that are pretty good October 28, 2006
Format:Hardcover
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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17 of 20 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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs a Broader Scope June 19, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Deke Slayton and Al Shepard's book is a fine, well-written overview of the American space program. It unfortunately misses in several ways.
First, the book can't decide if it's an autobiography or not. It's "the inside story," but it concentrates on Shepard's two flights and Slayton's overrated Apollo-Soyuz mission. The plot is skewed towards the authors, which doesn't make sense considering it's written in the third person.
I found this third-person narrative approach irritating. I almost felt as if the ghostwriters chose to describe the events in this manner so they could feed the astronauts' egos further. Apollo books often come face-to-face with the astronauts' infamous cockiness, but this book makes no attempt to hide it. Shepard described himself as a "leading test pilot, astronaut, explorer, adventurer, master of wings and rocket fire, and hero to millions." All this may be true but you're not supposed to say it about yourself.
It also needs more character development. It doesn't go beyond saying that Slayton and Shepard were friends. I got tired of being told outright of the friendship. I wanted to be told about it, not of it. I felt like I wanted to know the authors better, especially since they were the focus. On top of that, several crucial people such as Ed Mitchell (Shepard's lunar module pilot) are just names here- they are not given any substance.
It also concocts stupid commentary for narrative purposes. For example, to get across a point the book may recount a "conversation" between Slayton and Shepard that is so corny as to be all but useless. This is a subtle, but unfortunate problem with this book.
The final downfall of this book is its unwillingness to discuss the other Apollo missions.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I really enjoyed the whole book and the honesty that was clearly evident in the writing!
Published 4 hours ago by Sharon Lou Hoevet
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, interesting read
A fun, behind-the-scenes view of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. Easy to read, and interesting insight into a variety of aspects of the program.
Published 3 days ago by Randy Meyer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read.
Published 11 days ago by rod ruhoff
5.0 out of 5 stars To me that's always the sign of a good book.
I saw the TBS video before I read the book. I thought it was fascinating. After growing up during the space program, I could 'hear' the voices of Deke Slayton and Alan Shepard as I... Read more
Published 17 days ago by DAN WILSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible story, well-written
Well-written, conversational tone. Loved the linear history as we were taken thru each new phase of the Apollo program. Read more
Published 19 days ago by arzee
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
I was in my twenties during the challenge to go to the moon. I was in Vermont
visiting a friend we were Army vets when they landed on the moon. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Ron Melton
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing story written very well
Published 20 days ago by pensfan09
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book. I grew up in that era and ...
Very good book. I grew up in that era and it brought me back to that time.
Published 20 days ago by Francis H. Canary Jr.
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This was a very disappointing book that ended with a polemic about President Obama's space policy that left a bitter taste in my mouth. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Reid P.
4.0 out of 5 stars very good synopsis
This is a short historical overview of the space program containing a lot of facts. The political commentary at the end was unnecessary, containing opinion.
Published 23 days ago by martin workman
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