NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The riveting inside story of three heroic astronauts who took on the challenge of mankind’s historic first mission to the Moon, from the bestselling author of Shadow Divers.
“Robert Kurson tells the tale of Apollo 8 with novelistic detail and immediacy.”—Andy Weir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian and Artemis
By August 1968, the American space program was in danger of failing in its two most important objectives: to land a man on the Moon by President Kennedy’s end-of-decade deadline, and to triumph over the Soviets in space. With its back against the wall, NASA made an almost unimaginable leap: It would scrap its usual methodical approach and risk everything on a sudden launch, sending the first men in history to the Moon—in just four months. And it would all happen at Christmas.
In a year of historic violence and discord—the Tet Offensive, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago—the Apollo 8 mission would be the boldest, riskiest test of America’s greatness under pressure. In this gripping insider account, Robert Kurson puts the focus on the three astronauts and their families: the commander, Frank Borman, a conflicted man on his final mission; idealistic Jim Lovell, who’d dreamed since boyhood of riding a rocket to the Moon; and Bill Anders, a young nuclear engineer and hotshot fighter pilot making his first space flight.
Drawn from hundreds of hours of one-on-one interviews with the astronauts, their loved ones, NASA personnel, and myriad experts, and filled with vivid and unforgettable detail, Rocket Men is the definitive account of one of America’s finest hours. In this real-life thriller, Kurson reveals the epic dangers involved, and the singular bravery it took, for mankind to leave Earth for the first time—and arrive at a new world.
“Rocket Men is a riveting introduction to the [Apollo 8] flight. . . . Kurson details the mission in crisp, suspenseful scenes. . . . [A] gripping book.”—The New York Times Book Review
With the 50th anniversary of the trailblazing Apollo 8 mission approaching in December 2018, Kurson (Pirate Hunters) affably reminds readers of the days when America's dreams and goals lay far beyond Earth's surface. Kurson sets the stage swiftly: President Kennedy had promised in 1961 that U.S. astronauts would land on the moon, but as the decade drew to a close, the Soviet Union remained the unquestionable leader of the space race. After the CIA reported that cosmonauts planned a lunar flyby late in 1968, NASA altered Apollo 8's mission. Instead of orbiting the Earth, astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders would fly to the moon, orbit, and return. This was an especially challenging journey, because the August announcement meant that NASA's astronauts and engineers had only four months to prepare. Kurson effectively recreates the era, recalling the tumult of a changing nation, as well as the tension felt by those involved both on Earth and in space, of a mission with little margin for error. Kurson writes in clear, simple language, avoiding technical matters and cryptic NASA jargon to focus on the people involved. Fans of explorers and adventurers will enjoy Kurson's vibrant, accessible history.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Rocket Men Rocks
As always, Robert Kurson draws you into a world you couldn’t imagine that you would possibly be interested in, yet once there you find that you don’t want to leave! Knowing the astronauts survive this mission I still found myself riddled with anxiety as to whether every stage of the mission would be accomplished. Mr. Kurson adds details not known about the mission that are humorous, unnerving and wondrous. Apollo 8 was courage personified and made all other missions possible, and it and this book are a cause for celebration!
Informative and interesting
Too little known about this historic US event; glad I ready it, learned a lot
Rocket Men, Shadow Divers, and Pirate Hunters are three brilliant non stop non fiction books I have read. Great books for adventurous minds.