From Publishers Weekly
The Gemini program has always been NASA's quiet, superachieving middle child, overshadowed by the space cowboys of the Mercury years and Apollo's lunar prospectors. French, an executive at Sally Ride Science, and Burgess, author of Fallen Astronauts
, chronicle the missions on which American astronauts learned how to live in space for more than a few hours; steer a spacecraft around the Earth at almost 20,000 miles an hour; rendezvous with a companion ship; and navigate to another world and return safely. The authors relate that during the early Gemini missions, in the mid-'60s, several crews came close to ending in tragedy before NASA had the bright idea to have Buzz Aldrin practice in a Baltimore swimming pool for the final flight, Gemini 12
. The book also covers the Apollo program and the U.S.S.R.'s simultaneous space efforts. Although the authors interviewed surviving astronauts, family members and NASA staff for some fresh material, space aficionados will know most of this saga by heart. For young readers born decades after man last walked on the moon, this is a readable introduction to the first years of America's leap into space. Illus. (Sept.)
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"President Kennedy's goal of landing a man on the Moon was achieved only because of 15 trailblazing Gemini and Apollo missions flown during four dynamic years of trial and discovery described in this meticulously researched book. [In the Shadow of the Moon] truly captures the spirit and culture of those who won the race to the Moon."--Dave Scott, commander of the Apollo 15 mission<br /><br />"French and Burgess present a first-rate, detailed, and very personal account of the space race to the moon. . . . Strongly recommended both as a study of the social interactions among this unique group of people and as a gripping series of anecdotes that describe the exciting, dangerous steps behind the successful moon landing."--Choice<br /><br />"The writers have gone beyond old soviet propaganda to tell the untold stories of heroic cosmonauts through new and recent interviews. This volume captures the anxiety and haste shown by both nations at the height of the space race . . . . This series will be read by future generations when they want the complete perspectives of the original generation of space explorers."--Space Times<br /><br />"This book has everything you ever wanted to know about the astronauts that paved the way for the first Moon landing. Rarely does one get the entire information of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programmes, encased in one book, about the men who entered the dangerous and untried realm of flying off the Earth."--Jeff Green, Liftoff<br /><br />"For both space superpowers, human spaceflight was filled with remarkable triumphs as they strove to place the first person on the moon. There were also devastating tragedies to overcome. Through diligent research and pivotal interviews the authors recount that extraordinary era in this superbly crafted and eminently readable book."--Rex Hall, MBE, former president of the British Interplanetary Society<br /><br />"Our lives and those of future generations were forever transformed by the events so vividly related in this book. These were the tense, often inspiring days of pioneering human space travel, and the authors are to be congratulated for their unerring portrayals of many larger-than-life personalities involved in that historic endeavor." --Cece Bibby, first woman to work at the Mercury launch pad