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First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by [James R. Hansen]
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First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 446 ratings

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Length: 784 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

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“To understand Armstrong on his own terms is to see a large truth of our time . . . [Hansen’s] mastery of detail is put to splendid use. The narrative of the moon mission is crisp and dramatic, the science clear. He deftly takes us back into those few days of global fascination with the adventure of the three distant voyagers and the tense uncertainty about how it would turn out. . . . I finished Hansen’s Apollo story with a wholly fresh sense of awe at the magnitude of NASA’s achievement . . . a compelling and nuanced portrait of the astronaut.”  (James Tobin, Chicago Tribune )

“A powerful, unrelenting biography of a man who stands as a living testimony to everyday grit and determination . . . A must for astronaut buffs and history readers alike.”  (Publishers Weekly, starred review )

“A great read.”  (The Kansas City Star)

“Ever since Apollo 11’s ‘one giant leap for mankind’ in 1969 the world has wondered who Neil Armstrong really is. Now, at last, Jim Hansen has stripped away the myths and mysteries to bring us face to face with the man himself. This definitive portrait offers many new and fascinating details about Armstrong and his life and about the momentous and unforgettable era of exploration in which he was lucky enough—and talented enough—to play a key role.” (Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on the Moon )

“Ever since Apollo 11’s ‘one giant leap for mankind’ in 1969 the world has wondered who Neil Armstrong really is. Now, at last, Jim Hansen has stripped away the myths and mysteries to bring us face to face with the man himself. This definitive portrait offers many new and fascinating details about Armstrong and his life and about the momentous and unforgettable era of exploration in which he was lucky enough—and talented enough—to play a key role.” (Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on the Moon )

“This impressively documented and engagingly written biography will stand the test of time.” (Library Journal)

“Hansen does a fine job of retelling Armstrong’s childhood and remarkable career in aviation. The NASA years have been covered in many other books, but Hansen manages to keep them fresh, benefiting from Armstrong’s perspective. . . . As Hansen shows, the way Armstrong chooses to carry the heavy burden of history only proves once again that he has the right stuff.”  (Brian Hicks, The Post and Courier )

“Masterfully written . . . technically accurate, scholarly yet independent and accessible . . . Mission accomplished and a perfect touchdown.”  (Leonard David, Ad Astra, The Magazine of the National Space Society )

“Hansen’s research is staggeringly impressive. . . . A work that has great appeal for anyone interested in why we explore, who we are in this aerospace age, and what it was about the United States that could enable a little kid from Wapakoneta, Ohio, to take that ‘one small step’ at Tranquility Base in the summer of 1969. A must read!!!”  (Richard P. Hallion, chief historian for the U.S. Air Force )

“Armstrong opened his entire life to Hansen. . . . Thanks to Hansen, future historians will know more about the man than the fact he was first.” (Robert Pearlman, founder and editor of collectSpace.com )

“[A] taut, well-told tale of our nation’s race to the moon and the man who took the first step.” —Doug Allyn, The Flint Journal “Let it be said at once that his book is an outstanding success. . . . Immaculately researched and packed with detail, but written in a way that will appeal to readers of all kinds. . . . This is an important book, and should be in every scientific library.”  (Sir Patrick Moore, London Times Educational Supplement )

“Jim Hansen has captured the essence of Neil Armstrong, not only as the first man on the Moon, but also as an outstanding aviator and astronaut. I was there for Neil’s other major ‘space step’—he recovered Gemini 8 from the ultimate end game with aggressive action, cool skill and creative judgement seldom performed in any aviation or space endeavor. Just 16 days after the deaths of the Gemini 9 crew, he probably saved the Moon. Jim Hansen has written an exceptional and accurate account of a unique period in aerospace history and the adventures of Neil Armstrong.”  (Dave Scott, Gemini VIII, Apollo 9, Commander, Apollo 15 )

About the Author

James R. Hansen is a professor emeritus of history at Auburn University. A former historian for NASA, Hansen is the author of twelve books on the history of aerospace and a two-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in History. His 1995 book Spaceflight Revolution was nominated for the Pulitzer by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the only time NASA ever nominated a book for the prize. He serves as coproducer for the upcoming major motion picture First Man, which is based on his New York Times bestselling biography of Neil Armstrong. Hansen lives in Auburn, Alabama.

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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
446 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on July 28, 2014
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Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on July 15, 2019
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Top international reviews

Kindle Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacks sparkle
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 6, 2019
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Denno
4.0 out of 5 stars Choose wisely
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 19, 2019
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John Hopper
5.0 out of 5 stars very good biography, albeit slightly dry in places
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 11, 2019
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Mr. John B. Franklin
1.0 out of 5 stars Should have been a fascinating read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 12, 2018
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Dizzywizzy
3.0 out of 5 stars Very dry reading.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 14, 2019
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The Bookworm
3.0 out of 5 stars VERY DETAILED, VERY TECHNICAL
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 14, 2020
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 29, 2018
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Peter L.
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 3, 2018
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Mick P
3.0 out of 5 stars He must have been a rather dull person
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 14, 2020
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Richard P.
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of detail but of course you get not that ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 3, 2016
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K. D. Booles
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 29, 2018
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Lisa
5.0 out of 5 stars Delighted
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2014
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wizzybeans13
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 12, 2020
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katy
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 26, 2019
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carla willson
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 11, 2019
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