Moon madness hits publishers

Posted by Anonymous
on Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Yesterday, we commemorated Apollo 12’s launch back in 1969. The lunar module landed on the Moon’s surface five days later.

Over the past year or so, publishers have released a number of Moon-mission books in a rush that rivals the Space Race. Since President Bush’s call for a lunar mission, thoughts of the Moon, seemingly dormant since Gene Cernan’s return to the lunar module, again have a pulse. If you are feeling nostalgic for the past, here are four titles you might want to check out:

Rod Pyle’s Destination Moon (HarperCollins Publishers, 2005) recounts the Apollo missions, with retrospective commentary from the astronauts and mission scientists, and mission transcripts. Pyle covers all 17 missions using celebrated and rarely seen photographs.

Twelve men walked on the Moon during the Apollo program that ended more than 3 decades ago. Andrew Smith tracked down the nine men still living to answer the question, “What do you do once you’ve landed on the Moon?” for his book Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth (Fourth Estate, 2005). In many cases, these men reached their professional peaks during the Apollo program, and what followed couldn’t live up to that experience. Smith’s book is for those interested in the human side of the Apollo program. While politics and technology were obvious drivers of the Space Race, those personally involved gave it life, and Smith’s book accentuates those human experiences.

For a historic account focused on the first Apollo mission, read David M. Harland’s The First Men on the Moon (Springer-Praxis Books, 2006). Harland’s account is best at covering the preparation and flight details. Although this book lacks the narrative style of Pyle’s Destination Moon, it provides a terrific window into Apollo 11 with actual dialogue from Aldrin, Armstrong, and Collins.

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