"Celebrates a bold era when voyaging beyond the Earth was deemed crucial to national security and pride."
-The Wall Street Journal
Restoring the drama, majesty, and sheer improbability of an American triumph, this is award-winning historian Craig Nelson's definitive and thrilling story of man's first trip to the moon. At 9:32 a.m. on July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 rocket launched in the presence of more than a million spectators who had gathered to witness a truly historic event. Through interviews, 23,000 pages of NASA oral histories, and declassified CIA documents on the space race, Rocket Men presents a vivid narrative of the moon mission, taking readers on the journey to one of the last frontiers of the human imagination.
outstanding single volume
an outstanding single volume history of the U.S. Manned Space effort, revealing many sideline which are not well covered in other books. There are a couple of better non-fiction treatments of the space program focusing on more specific events (Spunik, Von Braun, the Russian efforts and individual astronaut biographies), this does a very good job of dealing with the meaning anscope of project Apollo
For serious space nerds!
Craig Nelson does a fantastic job of detailing this historic journey by delving into the roots of rocketry, the Russians' space program and other contributing events. Sometimes these details can overwhelm even the most serious space nerds (like myself). Overall though, Nelson nails the story with several excellent tidbits and, fresh insights, and quite surprisingly, several laugh out loud moments from the astronaut's anecdotes. I was also pleased with the narrator, who was very easy to listen to and did not over perform.
A perfect definitive summation
Because so much of the story of man in space was presented on TV in primetime over the years, those of us who lived through it, think we know the story. We don't. You probably don't. For the first time, I've looked for years, here is a pretty thorough history of the manned space program, certainly through 1970, anyway. Not just flight to flight to flight, but the intertwining mesh that, for me, is so much more interesting. All the players, all their inspirations, all the steps taken to that last small step on the Moon. I knew the names, but didn't know all of the stories and certainly didn't know all of the quirks. These are not just icons of history now, they are people I know. I've chewed through more than a 100 books in the last two years, I would put this one in the top ten. I liked it so much, I'm going to listen to it again.