This is a pilgrimage into the unknown. On 20 July 1969, man set foot on the moon. Motivated by politics, faith, science and wonder, the Apollo 11 mission was the greatest technical achievement of all time. It was the culmination of over a decade's worth of money and effort from more than 400,000 staff and crew. "Rocket Men" follows the astounding ...
This is a pilgrimage into the unknown. On 20 July 1969, man set foot on the moon. Motivated by politics, faith, science and wonder, the Apollo 11 mission was the greatest technical achievement of all time. It was the culmination of over a decade's worth of money and effort from more than 400,000 staff and crew. "Rocket Men" follows the astounding story of the lunar project, beginning at its inception at the start of the Cold War and tracing it through to its finest hour with the first moon landing and the astronauts' safe return. Through extensive interviews with astronauts, NASA staff and their families and never-before published documents, Craig Nelson presents an awe-inspiring human account of the voyage that changed the course of history. He takes us behind the scenes at Mission Control to describe every detail of the mission, from the astronauts' moon excursion suits, which had five hundred parts and weighed no less than fifty pounds, to terrifying revelations, such as how Armstrong and Aldrin could have been left stranded on the moon when a vital switch snapped on the landing craft. "Rocket Men" is the inside story of one of the most perilous and rewarding undertakings in history.
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I've only read about 30 books on the Apollo era of space travel (by all the major space historians and astronauts), and this is by far the best one I've read. Not so much for the actual story of the missions themselves, although Nelson presents those details clearly and understandably. He offers many antecdotes that other books leave out. The extensive bibliography tells me that Nelson researched his subject down to the most minute detail and presented us with a work that is interesting and exciting to read. This book isn't just about Apollo though. Nelson has included great detail about the Soviets own attempt to land a Cosmonaut on the moon and explains how that kept the pressure on NASA to do the same.
What I like best about this book is some of his amazing insights such as his theory about how Eisenhower allowed the Soviets be first in space with the launch of Sputnik.
Jul 8, 2010
An incredible story about the training and mental endurance that took place for each astronaut that dared to fly in space. It must have been a profound experience doing what no man has ever done before. The anxiety I felt when they landed on the moon, as well as the docking on the way back was overwhelming! Couldn't put this one down. I highly recommend this to anyone who lived during this time, but relied on the news alone to be informed.....this goes way beyond, especially after they landed safely and then had to assume normal lives.
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