The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon
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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.
Praise for Rocket Men
“In 1968 we sent men to the Moon. They didn’t leave boot prints, but it was the first time humans ever left Earth for another destination. That mission was Apollo 8. And Rocket Men, under Robert Kurson’s compelling narrative, is that under-told story.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson
“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
Excellent storytelling about one of the greatest adventures in history
Kurson knows how to tell a story, and in this one he starts with the greatest material: the first spaceflight beyond the Earth’s gravity well, to the moon and back. This was an audacious mission to define all audacious missions - the people planning it, and the astronauts themselves thought their chances were maybe 50-50.
In a cynical age like ours - one even more cynical than the tumultuous year of 1968 described in the book - we should remind ourselves that what is possible might seem impossible, until you just do it. This book might make you think about why it’s important to do those kinds of things.
Rocket Men, Shadow Divers, and Pirate Hunters are three brilliant non stop non fiction books I have read. Great books for adventurous minds.
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!