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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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3152669,672 (4.34)4
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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Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
One of the best books read thus far in 2021, this is the story of three very brave men who were chosen among NASA's elite. In December 1968 NASA astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders were all exceedingly smart, very well competent, and each had a strong history of flight.

Traveling from earth in December of 1968 to the moon, making many successful spins around, and back again to earth, this remarkable journey was in fact a miracle of hope, and success. Some tests before the launching were fraught with errors. Tremendously well planned, the computer systems then were certainly nothing in comparison of today. Yet, they were successful.

History shows that the year of 1968 was one of sadness and chaos. Both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were killed that year. The Democratic National convention hall was surrounded with protests, primarily regarding the horror of the Viet Nam war.
President Lyndon Johnson promised a fast conclusion to the war. As the body count grew, and the nightly news read numbers from a lottery choosing who would be the next to risk their lives in a country where many knew we did not belong, a country sick and tired of war held LBJ accountable for the disaster.

The nation needed something good to hold on to. Apollo 8 provided that!

A beautiful reading from the bible from Genesis on Christmas Eve brought tears not only to Americans listening, but to the scientists and all those who, despite all the odds, made this journey successful. With this mission, we beat the Russians to the moon, and, this successful mission brought images of the moon's craters highlighting where a mission of a next team could be successful in landing a man on the moon.

Reading this well into the evening, it is a wonderfully written, well researched book of early space exploration and the success of bringing hope to a weary United States.

Highly recommended. ( )
  Whisper1 | Nov 2, 2021 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
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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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