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Starred Review. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon. In this extensively researched account of that epic achievement, former publishing executive and prize-winning author Nelson (The First Heroes) moves seamlessly between Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, their nervous families and the equally nervous NASA ground crew. Nelson follows Armstrong in nail-biting detail as he tries to find a place to land with less than a minuteÖs worth of fuel remaining. A large central section of the book digresses to provide some backstory on the feverish American-Soviet game of one-upmanship in the year leading up to the Apollo 11 launch. For instance, Nelson describes Apollo 8 as an almost reckless gamble by NASA to beat the Russians in sending men to orbit the moon The book also describes the sad personal toll the mission took. Collins was best able to deal with the cost of fame yet expressed the anticlimax of life after Apollo 11: I seem gripped by earthly ennui. Space fans and readers who remember that momentous time will find this an exciting read. (June 29)
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*Starred Review* Using interviews, NASA oral histories, and declassified CIA material, Nelson has produced a magnificent, very readable account of the steps that led to the success of Apollo 11. In the 40 years since the first moon landing and the 52 years since Sputnik was launched, it isn’t always remembered now what an experiment the Apollo program was, nor that the space race was as much a military as a scientific campaign. The space program was launched using the knowledge of rockets available at the end of World War II and former Third Reich scientists working in both American and Soviet programs. When it came to sending men into orbit and beyond, routines and equipment had to be invented and tested in minute increments. Nelson’s descriptions take us back, showing the assorted teams and how they worked together. We meet the astronauts and find out why they were eager to take on this mission, and we also meet the hypercareful technicians, without whom neither men nor craft would have left the ground. Nelson shows, too, how the technology and the politics of the times interrelated. Leslie Fish, songwriter, summed it up perfectly, “To all the unknown heroes, sing out to every shore / What makes one step a giant leap is all the steps before.” Nelson brightly illuminates those steps. --Frieda MurraySee all Editorial Reviews
Very informative. Get the back story of the space race. Things most folks never knew.Published 20 days ago by Sheldon
I lived through this and growing up I found it fascinating interesting and factualPublished 3 months ago by Thomas J Schauer
The author is focused strongly on the Apollo 11 mission and is forced to rush through other important Gemini missions to keep the narrative flowing. Read morePublished 8 months ago by LFD
This book took me back to when I was 8 years old watching the lunar landing in awe. It also reminded me of what it takes to do great things in a great country. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Leland T White
The book was my husbands. He loved it and wants to read it all over again.
It is difficult for me to expand on it not having read it myself, but I know how much
He... Read more
This is a marathon read, but I am truly glad for it. I'm learning so much about something I already cared about very deeply: America's Space Race and the men and women who made it... Read morePublished 14 months ago by ThePhen
Got to see all the background and insider looks into the "Space Race" ! Very interesting. Can get a little technical, but I still loved it!Published 14 months ago by Jan Martel