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Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made… (2018)

by Robert Kurson

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2452483,521 (4.28)3
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… (more)
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2018 nonfiction book by Robert Kurson recounting NASA's 1968 Apollo 8 mission, which was the first crewed spacecraft to reach the Moon and return safely to Earth. Rocket Men is an account of the Apollo 8 mission with focus on Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders, the three astronauts aboard during the mission. The book also places an emphasis on the astronauts' families during the mission.
  MasseyLibrary | May 29, 2021 |
In December 1968 NASA astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders stuffed themselves into a small capsule that sat innocently on top of a gigantic and monstrous rocket named the Saturn V. With the help of a group of extremely intelligent engineers and scientists, America counted down and the enormous ship blasted off the launch pad and began its 245,000 mile journey to the moon. The ground shook wildly underneath the bystanders' feet.

The Saturn V tore into the sky and roared overheard, leaving the Earth behind its fiery wake. The three men experienced violence and ferocious movement inside the command module as the rocket continued to lift at unbelievable speeds.

Eventually, the men reached lunar orbit and they glided just above the moon's grey, cratered and mountainous surface. They successfully accomplished 10 revolutions around our bright and mysterious neighbor. The famous "Earthrise" photo snapped by Anders came from this mission. If you haven't seen it, Google it. The men then succeeded to make their way back home safe and sound, splashing down in the grand Pacific Ocean.

I really enjoyed listening to this audiobook. Kurson sure knows how to write and keep readers on the edge of their seats. Anyone can enjoy this book; the scientific jargon is kept at a minimum, almost non-existent really. I was hooked from beginning to end. Highly recommended! ( )
  ProfessorEX | Apr 15, 2021 |
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this story as much as I did. It was riveting and definitely worth a read. But I give it a 4 instead of a 5 because I wouldn’t want to read it again. Glad I read it, but not beloved enough to read it again. ( )
  pmichaud | Dec 21, 2020 |
What a story! In the epilogue, former astronaut Mike Collins is quoted as saying that Apollo 8 was about leaving and the more celebrated Apollo 11 (Armstrong on the moon) was about arriving. In this book, Kurson captures the incredible daring and drama of truly leaving Earth for the first time. It's largely based on interviews with Borman, Lovell, and Anders (all still living), each of them a pretty remarkable human in his own right. There's a detailed narrative of the mission -- my heart was almost pounding during the launch and risky in-flight maneuvers! -- but also awareness of all that 1968 meant for the U.S., and plenty of attention to the heroic endurance of the astronauts' wives. There's nothing particularly groundbreaking about the prose or presentation, but I didn't feel Kurson was going for that. Overall, a worthwhile read for new or casual space geeks--maybe for seasoned ones, too.

Thanks to NetGalley for the free e-galley. ( )
  LudieGrace | Aug 10, 2020 |
I picked this up by more or less random chance, and I absolutely loved it. I knew nothing specific about Apollo 8 prior to reading this, and now I can't wait until the next time I'm in Chicago so I can see their capsule. The book is written as an adventure story, with the added benefit that the story happens to be true. It's a writing style that I really enjoy. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone with even a passing interest in space history. ( )
  duchessjlh | Aug 9, 2020 |
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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. "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

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