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The detail of this book takes you right back to the events like you were there watching them again. Very well written with accurate information that came right from the people who worked on the project. A must read for any anyone who lived and breathed the Apollo program as a kid.
As an engineer and also a passionate reader of good literature, this book is packed with many delights from both worlds for me. It's definitely not a pageturner if you want to dig into all the technical details of the Apollo missions and savor the personal stories of the people involved, especially the astronauts. But the enjoyment is complete and Andrew Chaikin's writing is flawless.
Self-discipline and persistence of the astronauts are what made the Apollo missions so successful and may be also why it seems harder today to do it again for real. Teams after teams worked on the various parts of this huge project and they build excellent rapport among themselves, no matter how different their backgrounds were. For them the mission always came first.
I recommend this book to those who enjoy reading the details of an engineering feat, and those who cherish the explorer's spirit in humanity, but especially to those who still wonder, like a child, when they look up at the Moon, our only natural satellite, and want to hear the story of how men managed to walk on its surface.
The book also got me very much interested in the construction and operation of the Saturn V rockets that launched all the Apollo missions. My only wish is to live to see humanity flying to our next natural destination: Mars!
Space flight - the dream of so many youngsters, is the topic of Andrew Chaikin's book "A Man on the Moon". Chaikin has given us the story of the Apollo space program - the only program launched by NASA that has landed humans on another world. Chaikin launches the book with the story of the tragic fire that claimed the lives of three astronauts - the first three austronauts to die either in preparation for or during a mission for NASA. The loss of Grissom, White, and Chaffee would pave the way to significant improvements in the Apollo program and probably helped to save the crew of Apollo 13 a few years later. The book races through the thrills of the Apollo 11 mission and the first humans to set foot on another world - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, as they landed on the moon. Chaikin captures the tribulations of the Apollo 13 mission where Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise were nearly the first space casualties and the heroic efforts of the NASA staff to return them safely to Earth. He continues through the remaining Apollo missions, concluding with Apollo 17, the final moon landing. Chaikin has taken terrific interviews and conversations with the astronauts and other members of the Apollo program into account when writin this book. The book covers every topic from the exhiliration of launch to the post-recovery doldrums experienced by some of the astronauts. He explains how space flight changed some of the men, and merely enhanced traits seen in others. This book is a tremendous piece of literature that belong in every space afficinado's library, and any historian of space travel must read this to understand how the Apollo missions paved the way for the Space Shuttle program and any upcoming manned missions that humans may have planned for the Moon, Mars, or beyond. I highly recommend this book to anyone with any interest in the history of space travel. It is easy to read, and very enjoyable.
5.0 out of 5 starsTHIS IS WHAT MAN DID 50 YEARS AGO
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 21, 2019
Bought to replace my dog-eared paperback copy that has been read and re-read down the years, this was available at a much discounted price, so was a must-have, Apollo 50th anniversary purchase! A great read whether you are an Apollo afficianado, or a new comer inspired by the film First Man. And of course, for all the moon landing hoax conspiracy theorists, we all know that the landings were actually faked in a top secret film studio. On Mars....
Great book about the missions and Apollo astronauts . First book I ever read on the Space Race and really put a hook in me . I'd rate it as a must have along with the Cox book. Great research and detail without being impenetrable . I've had the paperback twice - both times the damn thing has fallen apart with pages coming away in chunks from the spine so caveat emptor.
5.0 out of 5 starsBrilliant Description of the Apollo Missions
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 3, 2019
This is a great book, bringing back memories from my early teens and a visit to Kennedy Space centre in '87, the book gives a great sense of the huge engineering and computational challenges and the sheer determination to succeed.
The only minor downside for me is the 9 point font size making the text pages very dense and not so easy to read as it would have been for me at the time of this mission!!
A classic book of the Apollo missions, with stories of many of the astronauts and ground staff. It formed the basis of the Tom Hanks/Ron Howard miniseries 'From the Earth to the Moon' and is one of the essential books to read if you want to know about the Apollo programme. Thoroughly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe Apollo Moon Landing Story - This is the definitive account
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 28, 2020
When screen writers and directors use this book as a reference guide to the Apollo 13 film (Tom Hanks) and the HBO series from the Earth to the Moon then you know you are in for an informative account of the most fascinating chapter in manned space flight. The book focuses on the men that flew the missions and the support teams in mission control. A back story is written on each astronaut and other than Jack Swigert all Apollo astronauts had been interviewed by the author. I have bought 3 paper backs over the years as they have been worn out due to re reading. So glad its now on kindle as i can save my (unread) third paperback.
4.0 out of 5 starsGives real insight into what it was like to be there
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 6, 2005
First the negative points. This books isn't for the seriously technically-minded (although you do pick up a lot of technical info along the way). And a lot of it - the portraits of the astronaut's lives, the in-house NASA politics and so on - will already be familiar if you've read/seen The Right Stuff or Apollo 13. Where the book triumphs, magnificently, is in giving a sense of what it was actually like to be on the moon. You come away feeling as if you'd been there with the astronauts. The author's key technique is to tell you what they were thinking, and how they felt, as they were exploring the surface. This lets you imagine how you'd have felt in the same place. The book did, however, remind me of one reason why the later Apollo missions failed to hold the public's interest (or mine, at least) - the relentless focus on geology. Unfortunately the book's fidelity to its subject means that its later chapters are affected in much the same way. After the 50th (or was it 100th?) description of a rock being picked up, I was thinking "wasn't there *anything* else they could have done up there?", and never wanting to hear the word "basalt" again. Nevertheless, this is an excellent book, and well worth reading, whether you're a "rookie" or veteran of space exploration literature.
I really enjoyed this book. It was thorough, and well written. It was also very varied and kept my attention from start to finish. The book starts with chapters dealing with the run up to the first "moonshot" -- Apollo 8. It then covers that mission and each of the subsequent missions that landed on the moon from Apollo 11 to 17 in detail, but without being repetitious. I would have liked to know a bit more about Apollos 9 and 10 which were hardly covered. The author is also (as you would expect) a great fan of space and this means that the (limited) disucssions of the value of the missions do not have the air of balance. But then I didn't buy the book for that, I just wanted to know what happened. And on that front the book delivered all that I could have asked from it.
4.0 out of 5 starsHeavy with facts but fascinating details about the apollo missions
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 19, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
It has taken a few attempts to get into the book - there is alot of details about each astronaut and the mission details to take on board, mainly trying to fully grasp the story in order. I however have trouble remembering details so perhaps this is easier for others. However it is great to read the details about the space missions once they are set in space from the astronauts perspective, i have got about 100 pages in so far and enjoying learning about them.
5.0 out of 5 starsFascinating insight into the moon landings programme
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 11, 2016
Well written account of the Apollo programme - not just the moon landings, but the selection and training, the roles and personalities of of the astronauts, and their earthbound colleagues in mission control and the space programme. Much of the material is from the author's personal contact and interviews with the characters, and among the excellent stories of the missions there is a fascinating account of Apollo 13.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe most comprehensive Apollo-era book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 22, 2019
Fantastic book by Andrew Chaikin, well worth a read if you have any interest in the Apollo moon landing programme. Chaikin's interviews with those involved make for an interesting and engaging book, would highly recommend.