A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts
New York : Viking Penguin
, 1994 - History
- 670 pages
On the night of July 20, 1969, our world changed forever: two Americans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, walked on the moon. After the horror of the Kennedy and King assassinations, amid the deepening quagmire of Vietnam, the moon landing brought the sixties to a triumphant end. But the upheavals of that decade have somehow eclipsed this "one giant leap" and the even bolder explorations that followed. Now Andrew Chaikin tells the story of the Apollo missions as never before: through the eyes of the astronauts who made those heroic voyages. A decade in the making, A Man on the Moon is based on hundreds of hours of in-depth interviews with each of the twenty-four moon voyagers, as well as those who contributed unprecendented brain power, training, and teamwork on earth. With breathtaking immediacy, Chaikin conveys every aspect of the Apollo missions, from the rush of liftoff atop a Saturn V rocket to the heart-stopping touchdown on the moon, to the final hurdle of reentry. He tells of the intense competition for a seat on a moon flight, and of the resurrection of Alan Shepard, at age forty-seven, from grounded pilot to moon voyager. We see the Apollo missions unfold from their tragic beginning - the spacecraft fire that killed three astronauts - to their spectacular conclusion high on the slopes of lunar mountains, where the astronauts searched for clues to the origin of the solar system. Here are the stories of a unique handful of men who have been to the farthest edge of human experience. For the first time, we learn what the men inside the space suits truly felt. Through them we can look back and understand the achievement that began on that almost mythic July night when, as Chaikinwrites in his preface, "we touched the face of another world and became a people without limits".