Customer Reviews: In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969 (Outward Odyssey: A People's History of Spaceflight)
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on July 31, 2007
I've been reading space history books since my earliest days, as I grew up in the first decade of the space program - and yet many of these stories are new to me. I've read almost every astronaut book that's come out over the last 35 years and this book, along with "Into That Silent Sea," tells the manned space flight story like no books before. I love it so much I'm going to go back and read the first one next. I took my time reading "In the Shadow of the Moon", as the book is like a very fine wine that can't be hurried through. I needed to take small sips of each chapter and savor the history and never-before-told personal stories. My thanks to the authors for putting this history and these memories to paper and sharing them with the rest of us; I'm glad the subjects shared their time and memories.
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on October 16, 2007
Another great book on the Golden years of Spaceflight . Francis and Colin really have the "right stuff". Their insight and facts of the events are spot on and they have made the telling of each flight just as interesting and exciting as the previous one. Not an easy chore. I had forgotten how perilous the EVA's were and they brought back such vivid memories of them. Both "Into the Silent Sea" and "In The Shadow of the Moon" are terrific reads and a great way to "experience it all". I owe the authors a debt of gratitude for writing and accurately documenting these historical flights.
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on November 12, 2007
French and Burgess have written a wonderful book with lots of vivid details. For example, I was captivated by reading Gene Cernan's account of the intense pain and difficulty he had during the his Gemini EVA.

The vividness and suspense flows well. The editing is excellent. A must have book for any serious space history buff.

Tahir Rahman, author of We Came in Peace for all Mankind
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on October 6, 2007
This is the book you have been looking for.

This is a fantastic book, accounting the details and nuances of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronauts and their missions. Mr. Francis French and co-author Colin Burgess has taken just another telling of human space flight and created a new track - infused in it the personal thoughts, sentiments and reflections of ordinary men doing extra-ordinary feats. One does not quickly skim through this document, but instead slowly take in what the astronauts are telling us.

The authors gained the confidence and respect from the astronauts to share with them data, information and personal experiences not found anywhere else. I found myself lost in reading about the never before known aspects of the pioneers of the Mercury and Gemini programs - testing never before used technology and crews sharing their often near disastrous incidents. This is where man learned how to fly in space, with the Gemini capsule being the most maneuverable craft...even by todays standards. Questions we often asked ourselves about conditions in the crew cabin, conflicts with NASA administration or more private (and sometimes embarrassing), events/incidents are answered in this work.

I had the honor to interview Mr. French while he was Chicago, and he brought new insights and narration to the book and companion film. Sharing with me his own experiences in researching, interviewing and documenting forever the words of the astronauts, he demonstrated his love and passion for his work. The authors put on paper for us a priceless treasure of manned space flight, and creates for the reader, a great sense on what it is was like being there, the thoughts running through their heads - sitting on top of a controlled explosion, drifting away on a spacewalk or lost in thought studying the lunar surface. Next best thing to being there.

I do highly recommend this book for anyone who desires the human aspect - the personal insight of space flight without the dry over technical data of machinery specifications, although there is plenty of fulfilling information on that as well, presented as an adjunct to the story without overwhelming it.

Get it now and you'll be forever enriched.

Joe Guzmán
The Chicago Astronomer
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on November 22, 2007
I just reviewed the authors' previous publication, Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965 (Outward Odyssey: A People's History of S), and I absolutely had to write a review for this one, as well. I am an educator at a major astronomy and space museum, and "In the Shadow of the Moon" and "Into that Silent Sea" are two books that we will be purchasing for our spaceflight docents as resource books. The books are fabulous and you won't want to put them down. I sure didn't. When I got to the section about the Apollo 1 tragedy, the tears started flowing. I knew a bit about what happened, but not everything I learned from this book. Absolutely amazing interviewing and writing. Please buy these books if you want first-hand accounts of Russian and U.S. space history. We're getting farther and farther from that era as the years pass, and the largest tragedy would be that people would forget what happened.
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on January 12, 2008
There are and have been hundreds if not thousands of books about manned spaceflight over the years but only a select few have really been able to communicate the true story and feeling generated by one of the most fondly remembered era's in American history. A time most commonly remembered as being one of technological marvel. However the true story is one of the men & Women who supported and flew the missions. This book goes deeper into the "Golden era" or manned spaceflight and tells stories that have never been told all the while keeping the reader enthralled. It touches on subjects long since forgotten or ignored and brings them to the fore. With first hand interviews with the people involved the authors really touch on the human aspect. I was especially taken by surprise that they told the story the way it should be. Not just the American effort, but the Russians too as there story never really gets told. I have read many books on spaceflight and I can honestly say this is one of only a few books that have kept me addicted and wanting to come back for more. Buy this book. You will not be disappointed. Even if you are not interested in manned spaceflight buy this book as you will be by the end. It reminds us all why we were interested in spaceflight to begin with. For a long long time the Book A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin was the book to beat. This is no longer the case.
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on November 2, 2007
Hats off to Messers French and Burgess for another tour de force. Their unvarnished and yet affectionate portraits of lesser known atronauts such as Donn Eisele are not only compelling, but also an important addition to the historical record that serve as a reminder that the space race was more than a technological contest: it was first and foremost a human endeavour. IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON is a story rich with the personalities behind the Gemini missions -- their frailties, egos, infidelities, and astonishing courage and accomplishment. French and Burgess dish up these characters in a taut chronicle that never flags yet remains sober and serious in tone. They are to be congratulated for a very fine work, and their stellar reviews are richly deserved.
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on December 1, 2007
As China's space program heats up, there's no better time to read this compelling work. The United States can benefit from every possible reminder about what we've accomplished, how we did it, and how the amazing story teamwork, competition and courage brought us to where we are today. Too many of us have either forgotten or just don't know the story... which could lead to mistakes on the international stage, allowing others to reach new milestones while we play catch up. With this book and the companion volume, French and Burgess have given us exciting, vivid history and the inspiring jump start America needs to bring back the passion to excel in space in the 21st century.
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on October 18, 2007
In a follow-on to their excellent Into That Silent Sea, French and Burgess have again come up with another gem. This book covers the 10 Gemini flights and the 5 Apollo missions up through the touchdown of Apollo 11, the first landing. Also included are details of some of the Soviet missions that occurred during the period. In addition, the book includes probably the best description of the Apollo I fire that I have read.

I went to work for McDonnell on the Gemini right out of college in 1965 and got to know the program rather well. I then went on to work on Apollo at Kennedy. So it is usually with some trepidation that I pick up a new space history book, as it seems many authors seem to think they can just go to the library, gather their facts and slap a book together, often without benefit of any proofreading or fact checking. Not so with French and Burgess. With the exception of a few almost insignificant items, this book is about as accurate as any I've read. The list of interviewees reads like a "Who's Who" of the space program. These interviews have allowed them to present a fresh perspective on the missions and it is written in a most enjoyable style. I was truly sorry when I came to the end.

My only complaint about the book is that I was hoping for the full story of the Apollo 11 mission, rather than ending with the landing. We can hope that their next effort in the series will continue the story of 11 and the remaining missions.
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on August 15, 2007
I'm on the last few pages of the book and I must say I hate to see it end!

In particular, I thought the Gemini section was brilliant! Along with quite a few missing links from otherwise well-documented tales, what I really enjoyed were the unique and exclusive comments from some of the astronauts who flew the missions, especially those of Stafford and Cernan. This not only lends credibility to the book, but it also brings the reader to the "inside" of the stories.

I've always felt that Donn Eisele was sort of The Invisible Man on Apollo 7 because so little has been written about him. But now, I have a much more complete picture of his personality, his domestic challenges, his professional aptitude, etc. Donn's a complete member of the crew in my mind now! I thought Walt Cunningham's comments were extremely helpful by providing the reader with an insider's view of key events surrounding the Apollo 7 mission.

This book really goes a long way in quenching the thirst for those of us who are "space literate", but I can see where it would fun to read and informative for those who wouldn't know Neil Armstrong from Lance Armstrong.

Lastly, the authors never let us forget that there were real human beings flying in those spacecraft; not robots programed to perform their tasks until their batteries died. To me, that is probably one of the key things that makes this book special.
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